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Atomic and Molecular Hydrogen

  1. Dec 12, 2009 #1
    As simple as the questions seems, I can't seem to find an answer.

    1. Can atomic hydrogen by chemical reaction, be converted to molecular hydrogen?

    2. what happens when putting electrodes in a reaction that would give me atomic hydrogen? would it be collected at the cathode like molecular hydrogen? The same question for atomic oxygen.

    3. Finally, what are the main characteristics of atomic hydrogen and oxygen, and how are they differentiated from the molecular form.

    If you please, could you mention any good books that would aid me with the subject ..

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2009 #2


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    1. Depends on how you define 'chemical reaction'. I wouldn't call it that. Atoms of hydrogen will spontaneously combine to form H2 molecules. There's no energy barrier ('activated complex') in doing so, so I would not characterize it as a 'proper' reaction.

    2. What do you mean putting electrodes 'in the reaction'? You can't really produce atomic hydrogen in water.

    3. Atomic species, with the exception of noble gases, are unstable. As I said, they form bonds with no barrier to doing so.
  4. Dec 13, 2009 #3
    First of all thanks for the reply,

    When I said water reaction to obtain atomic hydrogen, I meant "the dissociation of water with radio waves", I have emailed a university professor who stated in their email that --quote "we believe the radiation is ATOMIC H and O" and they also said that by examination there was no signs for H2 and O2 spectra.

    That is why I thought about what would happen if we put electrodes in the reaction?

    Any Ideas!
  5. Dec 14, 2009 #4


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    Okay, but the dissociation of water into H+ and OH- or into H* and OH*?

    I'd need to know the details of what you're talking about. Saying atomic would indeed seem to imply the latter. (But the dissociation energy would require UV rather than radio waves)

    You can naturally form atomic H and O in solution for brief periods of time, but since they're unstable they're going to eventually recombine to form water, H2, O2 etc. You'd normally expect at least some hydrogen atoms to find other ones to combine into H2, so that's probably why they were looking for H2 formation.

    Anyway dissociation into the radical species isn't a redox reaction, no ions are formed, so electrodes wouldn't really change anything.
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