|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
DO! DO! Do use electrolysis! This is THE way to separate them. But it sounds like you are a little fuzzy on the design. Look around at your local library for help, but I can give you some pointers to begin with. The following web page gives a very simple version with no collection apparatus. The key is the graphite electrodes. http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/projects/projects-html/split_h2o.html This site will show you these pencil electrodes in action with different electrolytes in the water. http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/JCESoft/CCA/W1MAIN/CD1W1630.HTM A few more things to get you on the right track: If you want to separate the oxygen and the hydrogen, you will need two different containers. They can be 2 separate glasses. The water cannot be just water (distilled water) it must have soem sort of dissolved ions in it (electrolytes) or the current won't be able to flow through the water, and the electrolysis will not happen. If you wanted to collect the gasses in the pencil electrode cell, you would eliminate the piece of paper, shorten the pencils, and place a test tube over each pencil. This way the bubbles will float up into the appropriate test tube. Which is oxygen and which is hydrogen? Work out your redox reaction. Your power source will have a - and + terminal. Search the web with key words "science electrolysis water" and see what you come up with ( I found quite alot). You should find a few different diagrams for making various electrolysis apapratuses, along with pictures to help you along. Finally go to your science teacher with your preliminary designs. He or she should be able to give you some hands on help as well. Good Luck! Greta Hardin
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Chemistry.