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Q & A: splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen

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Most recent answer: 04/26/2009
Q:
How can water be split into oxygen and hydrogen? Thank you
- shawn
capps jr high, arizona
A:
I saw this in school once. You dissolve sulfuric acid into a beaker of water, and put two electrodes in (ours were coated with platinum, so that they wouldn't be eaten away by the acid). Flow a dc electrical current through the mixture, and oxygen bubbles would form on one electrode and hydrogen bubbles would form on the other. Careful! Hydrogen is explosive!

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-Up #1: Who discovered electrolysis?

Q:
i was wondering who the scientist was who discovered it and what his intent was with splitting water?
- Alyssa Blackbourn (age 14)
coleman,wi,usa
A:
The Italian physicist Alessandro Volta discovered the principle of the electric cell in 1800. Soon after, William Nicholson and Sir Anthony Carlisle, English scientists, performed the first electrolysis breaking water down into oxygen and hydrogen.

LeeH

(published on 04/26/2009)

Follow-up on this answer.