Making the first element — Hydrogen

Hydrogen – it is perhaps the simplest of the atoms and most abundant in universe. Consisting of just a proton and an electron it occupies the very first box of periodic table. Abundance of Hydrogen in universe is perhaps a good proof that our universe is young, with lot of energy to spend before it starts collapsing under its own weight.

To make hydrogen in your home you will need a pile of nails, about 50 gms
will do nicely. You will also need Hydrochloric Acid. Muriatic Acid sold to clean toilets etc. is a good source of HCl for our purpose.
For the experiment we shall use a glass bottle, with a two hole stopper. Put a glass tube that should go near the bottom and project out by at least 70mm out side. In the other hole insert a short tube. With the short tube attach a rubber tube about 50cm in length. Fill 1/5th of the bottle with nails. Then pour water till 1/3 of bottle. Then pour Muriatic acid to cover 2/3rd of the bottle. Quickly place the stopper on the bottle, taking care not to break the glass tube. Place the bottle on a tray. You will notice hydrogen bubbles coming out from the nails. Now take other end of the rubber pipe under a shallow through, and collect the gas in a water-filled test tube. Gas bubble will replace the water to fill the test tube.

You will notice Hydrogen is a colorless gas. If you take a lighted stick the gas will explode with a “pop” sound. Hydrogen explodes in presence of oxygen. As time goes the gas will have little oxygen mixed with it, then it will burn slowly with a bluish flame. If manage to blow a bubble with the gas, this will fly, as Hydrogen is lighter than air. Actually it the lightest of all elements.

Think of other things that you can do with hydrogen and write to me how your experiment go.

Good Luck!