HYDROGEN

Daryl R. Inamarga

HYDROGEN
 Hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table. In normal

conditions it’s a colourless, odourless and insipid gas, formed by diatomic molecules, H2. The hydrogen atom, symbol H, is formed by a nucleus with one unit of positive charge and one electron. Its atomic number is 1 and its atomic weight 1,00797 g/mol. It’s one of the main compounds of water and of all organic matter, and it’s widely spread not only in The Earth but also in the entire Universe. There are three hydrogen isotopes: protium, mass 1, found in more than 99,985% of the natural element; deuterium, mass 2, found in nature in 0.015% approximately, and tritium, mass 3, which appears in small quantities in nature, but can be artificially produced by various nuclear reactions.


 It is found in the atmosphere at trace levels. It is synthesized from

hydrocarbons and from water where it constitutes the lightest fraction of the H2O molecule. Hydrogen gas cannot sustain life.  It is a gas discovered by Boyle in 1671. French chemist Antoine Lavoisier named hydrogen from the Greek words for "water former."

Uses of Hydrogen
 The most important use of hydrogen is the ammonia

synthesis. The use of hydrogen is extending quickly in fuel refinement, like the breaking down by hydrogen (hydrocracking), and in sulphur elimination. Huge quantities of hydrogen are consumed in the catalytic hydrogenation of unsaturated vegetable oils to obtain solid fat. Hydrogenation is used in the manufacture of organic chemical products. Huge quantities of hydrogen are used as rocket fuels, in combination with oxygen or Fluor, and as a rocket propellent propelled by nuclear energy.

 Hydrogen can be burned in internal combustion engines.

Hydrogen fuel cells are being looked into as a way to provide power and research is being conducted on hydrogen as a possible major future fuel. For instance it can be converted to and from electricity from bio-fuels, from and into natural gas and diesel fuel, theoretically with no emissions of either CO2 or toxic chemicals.

Properties of Hydrogen
 Common hydrogen has a molecular weight of

2,01594 g. As a gas it has a density of 0.071 g/l at 0ºC and 1 atm. Its relative density, compared with that of the air, is 0.0695. Hydrogen is the most flammable of all the known substances. Hydrogen is slightly more soluble in organic solvents than in water. Many metals absorb hydrogen. Hydrogen absorption by steel can result in brittle steel, which leads to fails in the chemical process equipment.  At normal temperature hydrogen is a not very reactive substance, unless it has been activated somehow; for instance, by an appropriate catalyser. At high temperatures it’s highly reactive.

 Although in general it’s diatomic, molecular hydrogen

dissociates into free atoms at high temperatures. Atomic hydrogen is a powerful reductive agent, even at ambient temperature. It reacts with the oxides and chlorides of many metals, like silver, copper, lead, bismuth and mercury, to produce free metals. It reduces some salts to their metallic state, like nitrates, nitrites and sodium and potassium cyanide. It reacts with a number of elements, metals and nonmetals, to produce hydrides, like NAH, KH, H2S and PH3. Atomic hydrogen produces hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, with oxygen.  Atomic hydrogen reacts with organic compounds to form a complex mixture of products; with etilene, C2H4, for instance, the products are ethane, C2H6, and butane, C4H10 . The heat released when the hydrogen atoms recombine to form the hydrogen molecules is used to obtain high temperatures in atomic hydrogen welding.  Hydrogen reacts with oxygen to form water and this reaction is extraordinarily slow at ambient temperature; but if it’s accelerated by a catalyser, like platinum, or an electric spark, it’s made with explosive violence.

Hydrogen Physical Properties

 Colorless  Highly flammable  Light in weight  Density : 0.0899*10 -3 g.cm -3 at 20 °C  Melting point : - 259.2 °C  Boiling point :- 252.8 °C  Pure hydrogen is a gas under normal conditions.  Hydrogen is diatomic and much lighter than air.  It has such small mass that it can escape earth's

gravitational pull and fly off into space.  The gas mixes well with air, explosive mixtures are easily formed.  The gas is lighter than air.

Hydrogen Chemical Properties
 Electronegativity according to Pauling : 2.1  Energy of first ionisation : 1311 kJ.mol -1  Reacts easily with other chemical substances.  Hydrogen is slightly more soluble in organic solvents than

in water.  It does not usually react with other chemicals at room temperature.  Two hydrogen molecules (H2) and one oxygen molecule (O2), combine to form two molecules of water, or H2O. This reaction releases energy.  Hydrogen bonds form covalent bonds with each other and with other atoms.  In some molecules containing hydrogen, the covalent bond between one of the hydrogen atoms and another atom is weak and breaks easily. Compounds made of these

 Hydrogen also forms ionic bonds with some metals,

creating a compound called a hydride.  Hydrogen can also form a unique bond known as a hydrogen bond. Hydrogen bonds only form between hydrogen and the elements oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), or fluorine (F). Water is a good example of hydrogen bonding.  Many metals absorb hydrogen. Hydrogen absorption by steel can result in brittle steel, which leads to fails in the chemical process equipment.  At normal temperature hydrogen is a not very reactive substance.  Atomic hydrogen reacts with organic compounds to form a complex mixture of products.  Hydrogen reacts with oxygen to form water and this reaction is extraordinarily slow at ambient temperature.  Under extreme pressure hydrogen can actually act like a metal.  Heating may cause violent combustion or explosion.  Reacts violently with air, oxygen, halogens and strong oxidants causing fire and explosion hazard.

Health effects of hydrogen
 Effects of exposure to hydrogen: Fire: Extremely

flammable. Many reactions may cause fire or explosion. Explosion: Gas/air mixtures are explosive. Routes of exposure: The substance can be absorbed into the body by inhalation. Inhalation: High concentrations of this gas can cause an oxygendeficient environment. Individuals breathing such an atmosphere may experience symptoms which include headaches, ringing in ears, dizziness, drowsiness, unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting and depression of all the senses. The skin of a victim may have a blue color. Under some circumstances, death may occur. Hydrogen is not expected to cause mutagenicity, embryotoxicity, teratogenicity or reproductive toxicity. Pre-existing respiratory conditions may be aggravated by overexposure to hydrogen. Inhalation risk: On loss of containment, a harmful concentration of this gas in the air will be reached very quickly.  Physical dangers: The gas mixes well with air, explosive mixtures are easily formed. The gas is lighter than air.

 Chemical dangers: Heating may cause violent

combustion or explosion. Reacts violently with air, oxygen, halogens and strong oxidants causing fire and explosion hazard. Metal catalysts, such as platinum and nickel, greatly enhance these reactions.  High concentrations in the air cause a deficiency of oxygen with the risk of unconsciousness or death. Check oxygen content before entering area. No odor warning if toxic concentrations are present. Measure hydrogen concentrations with suitable gas detector (a normal flammable gas detector is not suited for the purpose).  First aid: Fire: Shut off supply; if not possible and no risk to surroundings, let the fire burn itself out; in other cases extinguish with water spray, powder, carbon dioxide. Explosion: In case of fire: keep cylinder cool by spraying with water. Combat fire from a sheltered position. Inhalation: Fresh air, rest. Artificial respiration may be needed. Refer for medical attention. Skin: Refer for medical attention. 

Environmental Effects of Hydrogen
 Hydrogen in the environment: Hydrogen forms 0.15

% of the earth's crust, it is the major constituent of water. 0.5 ppm of hydrogen H2 and viral proportions as water vapor are present in the atmosphere. Hydrogen is also a major component of biomass, consisting the 14% by weight.  Environmental stability: hydrogen occurs naturally in the atmosphere. The gas will be dissipated rapidly in well-ventilated areas.  Effect on plants or animals: Any effect on animals would be related to oxygen deficient environments. No adverse effect is anticipated to occur to plant life, except for frost produced in the presence of rapidly expanding gases.

History of Hydrogen 
 
 1766 Hydrogen was first identified as a distinct element by

British scientist Henry Cavendish after he evolved hydrogen gas by reacting zinc metal with hydrochloric acid. In a demonstration to the Royal Society of London, Cavendish applied a spark to hydrogen gas yielding water. This discovery led to his later finding that water (H2O) is made of hydrogen and oxygen.  1783 Jacques Alexander Cesar Charles, a French physicist, launched the first hydrogen balloon flight. Known as “Charliere,” the unmanned balloon flew to an altitude of three kilometers. Only three months later, Charles himself flew in his first manned hydrogen balloon.  1788 Building on the discoveries of Cavendish, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier gave hydrogen its name, which was derived from the Greek words—“hydro” and “genes,” meaning “water” and “born of.”

1800 English scientists William Nicholson and

Sir Anthony Carlisle discovered that applying electric current to water produced hydrogen and oxygen gases. This process was later termed “electrolysis.” 1838 The fuel cell effect, combining hydrogen and oxygen gases to produce water and an electric current, was discovered by Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schoenbein. 1845 Sir William Grove, an English scientist and judge, demonstrated Schoenbeinʼs discovery on a practical scale by creating a “gas battery.” He earned the title “Father of the Fuel Cell” for his achievement 1874 Jules Verne, an English author, prophetically examined the potential use of hydrogen as a fuel in his popular work of fiction entitled The Mysterious Island.

Tapos man!  Sigeh…

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