Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Electrolysis of water?

  1. Jan 1, 2014 #1
    Electrolysis of water using the field effect?

    Hello everyone,

    I have been studying the electrolysis of water lately and the thought crossed my mind.

    When a strong electric field is placed near or applied to a semiconductor electrons which do not normally take place in conduction are forced out of the semiconductor...

    Could this effect (Field Effect) be used to achieve high efficiency electrolysis?
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2015 #2
    Sorry! But your power supply is not the solution.
    The electrolysis of water has always been treated as a chemistry process when it should be treated as an electrical / electronics component problem.
    The original work was done some two hundred years ago and modern science has simply built upon this work not knowing it was flawed. This is not the fault of the original researchers. They did not have the necessary test equipment at that time to catch their mistake.
    Doing original research now is the same as "reinventing the wheel", and you will need to understand the fundamentals of electrical / electronics theory.

    Electrolyzer Fundamentals
    1. Spacing between plates. (About 1/8 inch.)
    2. No more then two plates per cell.
    3. Water level on plates. (Production of gas is inversely proportional to water level on plates.)
    4. Moving water. (Even the turbulence from the gas bubbles can reduce production of gas by up to 80%.)
    5. Inductive Reactance between plates. (Minimize this and you can achieve 0.25 watt hrs./cubic ft. hrs. of gas.)(Break even is about 50 watt hrs./cubic ft. hrs.)
    6. 1.5 - 2 Volts between plates. (No more, no less.)

    This is a great deal more then I had to work with when I "reinvented the wheel".

    Have Fun!
  4. Mar 9, 2015 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    So, which part is flawed?
  5. Mar 9, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Is this simply a semantic/categorization nitpick? How does one "treat" them differently in this case?

    Trying to make a circuit diagram of this would be useless. A battery with two contacts.
    OTOH, this sure reads like a chemistry recipe to me.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  6. Mar 10, 2015 #5
    Water has an electrical current independent of any applied electrical current. The two resulting magnetic fields work against each other (inductive reactance), wasting power in the form of heat. Minimize the magnetic fields and you have a very efficient process.

    Fill a clean nonconductive container with distilled water (say, 1/4 inch deep).
    Using a multimeter, that measures down to 0.001 volt, and 0.000001 amp, check water. Measured values will very with distance between probes.

    The first experimenters reported their obvious results not knowing that so much more was going on in their test's.
  7. Mar 10, 2015 #6

    Ultimately this is a chemistry process.
    When there is a problem with the device (electrolyzer), it becomes an electrical, chemistry, and physics problem. Since the catalyst in this process is an electrical current, I look at this device as an electrical / electronics component, water included.
    Water has an electrical current independent of any applied electrical current.
    Solve the problem with this device, it's poor yield / high cost of operation.
    Then it becomes a chemistry process again.
  8. Mar 10, 2015 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Really? Do you have any reliable source for that? Please note we are quite serious about such claims here, as described in the forum rules you agreed to when registering.

    You will not measure anything when this experiment is done properly. No idea what you are observing, plenty of things that could go wrong. First thing that comes to mind is that your electrodes are slightly different and you have a galvanic cell. That wouldn't be anything new, and assuming several generations of researchers missed that effect is about as realistic, as assuming we are all wrong and there are 59 minutes in an hour, not 60.
  9. Mar 10, 2015 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook