Welcome to our 4-part mini-series on hydrogen. This series was created to help educate our readers about hydrogen and why we love it so much here at Aerie Collective!
What is Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is one of those lucky natural elements that everyone has heard of. This is because hydrogen is an extremely important part of our every-day life. Not only is hydrogen an important element in water, which we use multiple times a day, it also the fuel of the sun! Without hydrogen, we would cease to exist!
Hydrogen is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Hydrogen is also a part of innumerable carbon compounds meaning that it is present in all living things.
While hydrogen is not the most abundant element on Earth, it is the most abundant element in the universe. The extremely light weight of hydrogen gas allows it to simply float away and off of our lovely planet. The majority of hydrogen on earth is not in its pure, gaseous form, but rather in elemental compounds.
Hydrogen is also present is a large number of chemical compounds such as…
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Nitric Acid
Hydrogen is also what gives some citrus fruits their tart flavor. Hydrogen atoms that have been stripped of their electron are a key component in acids.
The History and Future of Hydrogen
The first recorded instance of hydrogen gas being created was in 1671 by a man named Robert Boyle. Boyle was experimenting with acids and iron when he discovered the gas. Hydrogen gas was not recognized as a distinct element, however, until 1766. After being recognized as a distinct element by Henry Cavendish, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier gave the gas the name hydrogen.
Before we can even think about using hydrogen for anything in its pure form, we need to be able to separate it out. While hydrogen is abundant on Earth, it is not abundant on earth in its pure form.
Water can be separated into hydrogen and oxygen through a process called electrolysis. This process is the only way to separate into hydrogen and oxygen that can be entirely carbon free if powered through wind or solar power.
Fun Facts about Hydrogen
Gas Giant planets, such as Jupiter, are primarily made of hydrogen!
In its liquid form, hydrogen is extremely cold and can burn human skin on contact.
Hydrogen is 14 times lighter than air.
Hydrogen has the lowest density of all gases.
Next week we will be discussing the use of Hydrogen as fuel! Stay tuned!