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Although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, its reactivity means that it exists as compounds with other elements. Thus, molecular hydrogen, H 2 , must be prepared from other compounds. The following outlines a selection of synthetic methods.

Steam reforming of carbon and hydrocarbons

Many reactions are available for the production of hydrogen from the reaction of steam with a carbon source. The choice of reaction is guided by the availability of raw materials and the desired purity of the hydrogen. The simplest reaction involves passing steam over coke at high temperatures (1000 °C).

Coke is a grey, hard, and porous carbonaceous material derived from destructive distillation of low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal. As an alternative to coke, methane may be used at a slightly higher temperature (1100 °C).

In each case the carbon monoxide formed in the reaction can react further with steam in the presence of a suitable catalyst (usually iron or cobalt oxide) to generate further hydrogen.

This reaction is known as the water gas-shift reaction, and was discovered by Italian physicist Felice Fontana ( [link] ) in 1780.

Italian physicist Felice Fontana (1730 - 1805).

The dominant industrial process for hydrogen production uses natural gas or oil refinery feedstock in the presence of a nickel catalyst at 900 °C.

Electrolysis of water

Electrolysis of acidified water in with platinum electrodes is a simple (although energy intensive) route to hydrogen.

On a larger scale hydrolysis of warm aqueous solutions of barium hydroxide can yield hydrogen of purity greater than 99.95%. Hydrogen is also formed as a side product in the production of chlorine from electrolysis of brine (NaCl) solutions in the presence of a mercury electrode.

The sodium mercury amalgam reacts with water to yield hydrogen.

Thus, the overall reaction can be written as:

However, this method is being phased out for environmental reasons.

Reaction of metal with acid

Hydrogen is produced by the reaction of highly electropositive metals with water, and less reactive metals with acids, e.g.,

This method was originally used by Henry Cavendish ( [link] ) during his studies that led to the understanding of hydrogen as an element ( [link] ).

Henry Cavendish (1731 - 1810).
Cavendish's apparatus for making hydrogen in the left hand jar by the reaction of a strong acid with a metal and collecting the hydrogen gas above water in the right hand inverted jar.

The same method was employed by French inventor Jacques Charles ( [link] ) for the first flight of a hydrogen balloon on 27 th August 1783. Unfortunately, terrified peasants destroyed his balloon when it landed outside of Paris.

Jacques Alexandre César Charles (1746 – 1823).

Hydrolysis of metal hydrides

Reactive metal hydrides such as calcium hydride (CaH 2 ) undergo rapid hydrolysis to liberate hydrogen.

This reaction is sometimes used to inflate life rafts and weather balloons where a simple, compact means of generating H 2 is desired.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Hydrogen. OpenStax CNX. Sep 28, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10984/1.4
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