9 Facts about hydrogen you should know!
- Hydrogen was distinctly recognised as an element in 1766 by the English physicist and chemist Henry Cavendish. The element was named hydrogen by the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier.
- The name hydrogen comes from the Greek words, Hydro meaning ‘water’, and gene, meaning ‘forming’.
- Hydrogen is an essential element of our world. Infact it makes up 75% of the mass of the universe. It is found in the sun and all stars. Hydrogen is believed to be one the element produced in the Big Bang, the start of the universe as we know it today. And is the source of energy of all the stars, even the energy we get from the sun.
- Hydrogen is the simplest and lightest element on the periodic table of elements. And bonds to itself or to something else to fill its outer shell. It forms both negative and positive ions. That is why it is represented as H2. Its atomic weight is 1.00797 making it the lightest of all elements.
- Hydrogen is odourless, colourless and tasteless. And is undetectable by human senses.
- Hydrogen is highly flammable but will not ignite unless an oxidiser (air) and ignition sources are present.
- Hydrogen fuel cells make electricity. They are very efficient, but expensive to build though. Small fuel cells can power cars. Power generated by hydrogen is environmental friendly as it reduces dependency on fossil fuels and the by product is water. But the production of hydrogen as fuel is not eco – friendly or cheap!
- Hydrogen is the main component of Jupiter and the other gas giant planets.
- The first gas balloon flight in Paris in 1783 used hydrogen.
What are the main uses of hydrogen?
- Hydrogen is used to make ammonia for fertilizer, in a process called the Haber process, in which it is reacted with nitrogen.
- The element is also added to fats and oils, such as peanut oil, through a process called hydrogenation.
- Hydrogen use include rocket fuel, welding, producing hydrochloric acid, reducing metallic ores and filling balloons.