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General information about nitrogen

Symbol: H

Atomic Number: 1

Atomic Weight: 1.00794

Electron Configuration: 1s1

Classification: Non-metal

Number of Protons/Electrons: 1

Isotops: Protium H-1 (stable), Deuterium H-2 (stable), Tritium H-3 (half-life 12.3 years)

Crystal Structure: Hexagonal

Name Origin: from Greek: hydro (water) + genes (former, producer)

Hydrogen (H) is the simplest and the lightest element. Its atom has one proton and one electron.
Nitrogen was discovered in 1766 by Henry Cavendish.
It is an important constituent of organic compounds of the living organisms. DNA molecules forming the genetic code contain hydrogen. Hydrogen and oxygen form water (H2O). Hydrogen is the most abundant element of the visible universe: it makes up about 90% of the universe mass.
Molecules of gaseous hydrogen are normally diatomic H2.
Gaseous hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. It is chemically active gas forming numerous compounds with other elements. Hydrogen is extremely flammable.

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Extraction (isolation) of hydrogen

  • Steam reforming

Most of hydrogen in the world is produced by stream reforming, which is the least expensive method of the isolation of hydrogen.
In this method steam heated to 2010°F (1099°C) reacts with methane (CH4):

H2O + CH4 = CO + 3H2

Another version of steam reforming process uses reaction of coke (instead of methane) with steam:

H2O + C = CO + H2

Carbon monoxide (CO) reacts then with hot steam in presence of iron oxide:

CO + H2O = CO2 + H2

  • Electrolysis of water

Acidified water is decomposed in an electrolytic cell. Hydrogen is evolved at the negative electrode and oxygen is evolved at the positive electrode:

2H2O = 2H2 + O2

  • Reaction of iron with dilluted sulphuric acid

This method is used for laboratory preparation of hydrogen:

Fe + H2SO4 = FeSO4 + H2

  • Reaction of calcium hydride with water

This method is also used for laboratory preparation of hydrogen:

CaH2 + 2H2O = Ca(OH)2 + 2H2

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Applications of hydrogen

  • Manufacture of ammonia (NH3).

Ammonia is produced by the reaction between nitrogen and Hydrogen (Haber process). Ammonia is then used for fabrication of fertilizers, nitric acid (Ostwald process), nitro-glycerine (explosive).

  • Hydrocracking, hydroforming and hydrofining of crude oil.
  • Hydrogenation of Vegetable lubricants to produce fat.
  • For producing gas welding flame in Oxyhydrogen Welding (OHW).
  • Fuel for rockets.
  • Fuel cells for electric cars, laptop computers, military devices, space shuttle’s systems.
  • Liquid hydrogen is used for research of processes at cryogenic temperatures.

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Properties of hydrogen

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hydrogen.txt · Last modified: 2012/09/04 by dmitri_kopeliovich
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