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Electrolysis (on as cheap as possible)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Mera Mihai, Jun 19, 2017.

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  1. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

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    Jun 19, 2017
    Hi

    For the past few days I have been trying to produce oxygen and hydrogen from water, main purpose being to get a similar effect from inhaling hydrogen as you do from helium. Because of this goal, I can't have oxygen and hydrogen together and I can't have other gasses like chlorine in the hydrogen. And yes, I am aware of the danger and how to be safe around hydrogen.

    What I figured out already:

    For my device I used some steel wire for the electrodes (the guy at the shop said it's not steel, but it obviously can't be pure iron, it's mild steel, I suppose). I tried carbon and the anode decomposes in the water and is also hard to get (pencils were my only viable source, batteries are too expansive). This steel should be good because, as far as I understand electrolysis, the only thing that should be able to happen is iron should migrate from the anode to the cathode, so I should be able to switch the two around from time to time or just replace them with new ones (I can get the wire for less than a euro/kg). For the electrolyte in the water I used NaOH, because I had it on hand and is also cheap and shouldn't produce anything I don't expect, at least, not nearly fast enough. It's reaction with iron should produce hydrogen gas, so if it did happen at any speed that matters I should be able to see bubbles on the electrodes just by putting them in the solution. For the power supply I used a phone charger with a broken connector.

    My questions:

    If any of you guys know an example online of somebody building the tubing and everything to keep the gases separate and do it cheaply, I would love to not have to come up with my own design.
    On the power supply, it says 12V, 2A. My understanding of electronics is quite rudimentary, so as far as I know, that would mean that the voltage it provides is always 12 volts, while the current can go up to 2 amps before it starts to get damaged. Is this correct?
    I also have no device to measure the intensity, so I thought I would buy a watt-meter, and assuming a 95% efficiency, calculate the intensity from P=U*I. This, if it works, would be the simplest solution.
    Is there a way to increase the amps without increasing the voltage? Bringing the electrodes closer is not an option, but what effect would increasing their surface area have, if any?
    If I can get a bunch of power supplies for laptops very cheaply, could I wire them in series to get a higher voltage?

    Finally, if I were to build my own power supply, from just 4 diodes (I don't think I really need the capacitor, I just need the electrodes to not switch), how could I know what voltage it gives, without testing it? Can I work out the theoretical DC voltage on paper? Also, how can I know the max intensity my power supply would be able to handle? If you can point me to a site from which I can learn about this, I am willing to learn.

    Thanks in advance. Once I get all this figured out, I'll make an article somewhere about how I did everything.
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,473
    2,819
    Jan 21, 2010
    Suuuuuure you do. We believe you.

    Pretty much, yeah.

    You don't need a higher voltage.

    No, the simplest solution is to but a cheap multimeter.

    The easiest way to keep the H2 separate from the O2 is to keep the electrodes spaced and to collect the gasses from each individually.

    I would not want to inhale either gas. Who knows what contaminates are in the water or electrodes and what other gasses you might get.

    If I was forced to do this, I would either use pure carbon rods or platinum rods and distilled water with a little baking soda to make it conductive.
     
    Harald Kapp and Bluejets like this.
  3. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

    8
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    Jun 19, 2017
    If I get more volts I get more amps, and amps should be what matters, right?
    Also, sorry, I kinda mistyped, I meant the cheapest solution, though some multimeters I found do come close in price to the wattmeter I found. As you said, it would be simpler, so I may go that route.

    For how much I'll be doing it, I'm willing to take the risk. The water, after all, is at european standards, the city piping was redone 9 years ago and the piping in the house is about 7 years old.
    But it is a fair point. It did not come to my mind before and I will be looking into it, thanks for pointing it out.
    The sodium hydroxide says 98%, I have no idea what the other 2 percent are, but from getting it on my unprotected wet hands (intentionally) I can tell you that the world is way too chemo-fobic.

    Thanks for the reply!
     
  4. Alec_t

    Alec_t

    2,926
    796
    Jul 7, 2015
    For a given electrolyte conductivity, increasing the surface are of the electrodes will increase the current. Don't increase the voltage beyond 12V.
     
  5. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

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    Jun 19, 2017
    That's what I expected, but wanted confirmation. Thanks!
     
  6. Chemelec

    Chemelec

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    Jul 12, 2016
    If you want Pure Hydrogen, You need PURE DC.
    Rectified AC without Filter Caps is FAR FROM BEING Pure DC.
    Even With Large Filter Capacitors, it is NOT as Good as a Battery.

    Also your Hydrogen Apparatus should be a "U Tube".
    Assuming No Back Pressure when Collecting the Gas, This will Separate the Hydrogen to One Side and the Oxygen to the Other Side.

    The Volume of Hydrogen generation is a function of Current flow.
    You can Increase Conductivity of your Solution, Or increase Plate Area, Or Increase the supply Voltage to push more Current. Or Combinations of any or all of these.
    Most people doing electrolysis use 12 Volts, But the Voltage can Much higher if wanted.

    But You don't want so much Current that the water Gets really Hot.
    That can result in the Baking Soda or Sodium Hydroxide being introduced as vapor into your Gas.
    Your Water should NOT be Chlorinated Tap Water.

    Proper CARBON Electrodes are GOOD.
    Pencil Lead is NOT REALLY MUCH in the way of being CARBON.

    A Good Quality STAINLESS STEEL is also good
     
  7. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

    8
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    Jun 19, 2017
    Why would it need to be pure DC, I don't understand. If a rectifier gives me the absolute of the sin function, that means the intensity never becomes negative, so the anode and cathode don't swap. Or is it not this simple? Can intensity act in both directions at the same time?

    btw thanks for the reply!
     
  8. Chemelec

    Chemelec

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    Jul 12, 2016
    It still contains a LOT of AC.
     
    davenn likes this.
  9. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    indeed, or at least what could be considered a wildly swing voltage ( even if it doesn't go below the zero line)

    without cap

    upload_2017-6-20_7-14-41.png



    with cap

    upload_2017-6-20_7-15-9.png


    Dave
     
  10. Chemelec

    Chemelec

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    Jul 12, 2016
    My Opinion is: If it is Worth Doing and you want Good Results, I suggest you do it the Best way possible.
     
  11. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,473
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    Jan 21, 2010
    If your water has any chloride ions in it (and it will) then chlorine has will be liberated in preference to oxygen.

    Chlorine gas is REALLY bad to inhale.
     
  12. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

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    Jun 19, 2017
    From Wikipedia: "Humans can smell chlorine gas at ranges from 0.1–0.3 ppm. According to a review from 2010: "At 1–3 ppm, there is mild mucus membrane irritation that can usually be tolerated for about an hour." ". In the gas I generated, I was able to smell chlorine only for about 4 minutes after starting it. Even then, I would not be breathing in an atmosphere of chlorine, but taking a breath every hour.

    But thanks for pointing it out, I would have never googled it otherwise :) always good to learn more.
     
  13. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

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    Jun 19, 2017
    That still doesn't make sense in my head, but I'll try to use a battery, seeing that more people tell me this. Still, if I do eventually build a rectifier, I can test this: if my gasses would, indeed, be contaminated, the gas that I expect to be oxygen should be a flammable mixture of hydrogen and oxygen.

    Thank you all for replying!
     
  14. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    did you not look at my post above to see the difference between the smoothed and unsmoothed output of a rectifier ??
     
  15. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

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    Jun 19, 2017
    Yes, I did, and I understand that the voltage varies, but I don't understand how that could contaminate the gas as long as it doesn't go below 0. With AC, when it goes below 0, the cathode becomes the anode and the anode becomes the cathode until it becomes positive again and they switch again, and that mixes the gasses, but as the rectified current doesn't go below 0, that switching shouldn't happen.
     
  16. Chemelec

    Chemelec

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    Jul 12, 2016
    I assume you want to Inhale this Hydrogen to make your Voice Change like Helium does.

    Should be Interesting as to how your going to collect this gas.
    Not LIKELY you can get it into a Balloon.
     
  17. Mera Mihai

    Mera Mihai

    8
    0
    Jun 19, 2017
    I have a couple of ideas. One is to get it into a plastic bag, or an inflatable beach ball, that would be the simplest, another one is to build something like this guy uses to measure his production at 5:02 : but to make a 10 liter version of that is likely to put too much pressure on the gas from the mass of the "bottle" (that would likely be a bucket) and make it leak somewhere.

    I could use a balloon if I pump it myself with an air pump into the balloon, but that would mean I would have to be permanently there slowly lifting the pump at just the right speed.
     
  18. Chemelec

    Chemelec

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    47
    Jul 12, 2016
    His Unit is putting out BOTH Hydrogen and Oxygen at the outlet.
    You need to Separate the gasses to store just the hydrogen.

    And from his Switch arrangement, probably using five 110 VAC Outlets to get over 4,000 Watts.
    NOT VERY PRACTICAL.

    Strange, I Don't see any Bubbles in the Actual Cell!
    And I would like to know: HOW he is controlling the Temperature of his Cell with all that Power?
    With That amount of Power, It should be BOILING HOT in One Minute.
     
    davenn likes this.
  19. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    13,765
    1,920
    Sep 5, 2009

    definitely a bit of a screwball looking video .... I don't think I can trust it
     
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