Humans have been negatively impacting our environment for decades and only recently have we come to the realization that we must change our ways in order to protect our home. In the past few decades, there has been a lot of time and money funneled into research for environmentally friendly products to prevent climate change, one such item being electric cars. However, the issue is that we continue to utilize methods that create emissions even though the products themselves are eco-friendly. Research into the different types of engines reveals that there are other alternatives yet they haven’t been thoroughly researched due to a lack of interest stemming from the idea that those other methods aren’t profitable. The concept for a hydrogen car is a solid idea, yet there are many skeptics which would argue otherwise. By researching and testing the process of electrolysis we hope to learn whether we should really consider hydrogen cars as a worthy opponent to the gasoline and electric cars of today.
We will be determining if the rate that electrolysis produces hydrogen is sufficient to power a car in order for it to compete with gasoline so that it may become a viable alternative. By noting the time it takes to fill a balloon with hydrogen, we could analyze and calculate whether utilizing this process to power an engine is feasible. We will also measure the impact of other factors such as the effects of sodium hydroxide to maximize the efficiency of the process.
This project was completed by my friend Diana Espindola and myself (gabyehall). I was unable to credit her in the makers because she is not a member on the Collab Space.
- Take the top off of the plastic tupperware storage box and set it aside. Placing the box upside down on a table, measure and mark two spots that are 2 inches away from the center on it's horizontal. Using a knife, cut two vertical 1 inch slits into the bottom where you marked the two spots. Insert the stainless steel electrodes, securing them in place and sealing the hole well with hot glue gun, ensuring that there will be no leaks.
- Take the top of the plastic tupperware storage box and measure and mark two spots that are 1 ¾ of an inch away from the center on it’s horizontal. Drill ½ inch holes where you marked the two spots and check that the PVC tubing or straws fit through them. Take the caps off of all the water bottles and drill ½ inch holes into the center of the caps for the water bottle halves. Drill two ½ inch holes or one ½ inch hole and one ¼ inch hole into the caps for the smaller water bottles.
- Cut the regular water bottles in ½. Insert the PVC tubing into the holes in all the caps and seal them in place with a thin but secure layer of hot glue. Utilize straws if PVC tubing does not fit into the ¼ inch holes. Attach the water bottle halves to the lid of the storage box by passing the PVC tubing through the holes.
- Pour water into the plastic tupperware storage box until the stainless steel electrodes are completely submerged. There will be three different trials to test the effects of the sodium hydroxide so add ¼ cup, ½ cup, and none respectively. Stir until the sodium hydroxide has completely dissolved and note the changes in the water.
- Cover the plastic tupperware storage box with the lid, ensuring that the water bottle halves cover the steel electrodes, and secure them in place with hot glue. Connect the small water bottles to the water bottle halves by attaching PVC tubing to the ends of the tubes glued to the caps.
- Attach balloons to the remaining tubes in the caps and secure them in place with rubber bands. Attach the alligator clips to the ends of the steel electrodes and connect them to the 9V battery to begin the electrolysis process. Begin the timer and take notes until you stop the device which is when the hydrogen balloon is completely filled.
Upon completion, we expect the device to produce both oxygen and hydrogen when we allow a current of electricity to flow through the steel electrodes. There should be a drastic and clear change observed in the water and the hydrogen balloon should begin to inflate rapidly. Once we remove the electric current we should observe that the water returns to normal, leaving any gases that have formed trapped inside the smaller water bottles.
It may be several hours before the balloons are full, but while they're filling up you can notice the hydrogen and oxygen bubbles within the water!