Hydrogen is one of the best known elements. It is the element of atomic number one. Hydrogen’s symbol is H and its atomic weight is 1.008. Hydrogen has the simplest and lightest atoms of any other elements. There are about 170 million billion tons of hydrogen in the earth’s water supply; therefore hydrogen is the most abundant of all elements on Earth. Hydrogen is also the most abundant element in the whole universe with about 93% of all the atoms. Hydrogen was first discovered on 1766 by an English chemist, Henry Cavendish. He didn’t know this at the time but he had just discovered the most unique element of all. (2)
The melting temperature of hydrogen is -434.7 degrees Fahrenheit which is just above absolute zero. Liquid hydrogen is the coldest substance known to man other than liquid helium. Hydrogen is tasteless, colorless and an odorless gas at room temperature. The word “hydrogen” originated from the Greek word “hydro” meaning water and “genes” for being formed. A French chemist, Antoine Lavoiser, made this name for the hydrogen element because when hydrogen burns in air it reacts with oxygen and the result is H2O Water. Hydrogen is literally everywhere! Hydrogen is also the source of most of the sun’s and star’s energy. (1)
The gas hydrogen is made up of diatomic molecules, which is why it’s H2. A neat fact about hydrogen is that it is only about .05 part per million of gasses in the air. The amount is so little because hydrogen rises to the top of the atmosphere and gets lost in space. Hydrogen has three isotopes, two of which are stable and one is radioactive. It is the only element whose isotopes have their own names, which are protium, deuterium and tritium. The most common isotope is protium, consisting of 99.985% of all the hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen is the cleanest possible fuel with no pollution. When it’s burned in the air, all it produces is water. It combines easily with other non-metals such as sulfur, phosphorus and the halogens. (3)
Water would be the ideal source for hydrogen on earth. The only problem is that in order to extract it, you would have to split the water molecules. Splitting water molecules requires a lot of energy, making it too expensive to make. (5) The most important use for hydrogen is in the manufacturing process of ammonia. The process of making ammonia is to combine nitrogen with hydrogen at high temperatures, while being in the presence of a catalyst to help speed up the reaction. Another important use is when hydrogen is combined with carbon monoxide to produce methanol. Methanol is crucial to the process of making other chemicals as well as for making everyday items such as plastics. (4)
First discovered in 1766, Hydrogen is one of the best known elements. It is the smallest and simplest of all elements generally consisting of one proton and one electron. (2) It is a tasteless, colorless and odorless gas at room temperature. Hydrogen, producing only water when burnt in air, is the cleanest possible fuel. An approximate 170 million billion tons of hydrogen makes it the most abundant element on earth. (1) Hydrogen is literally everywhere!