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H2O catalyst

  1. Jul 31, 2010 #1
    How silly is this?

    Catalysts work as sort of small chemical reactors -
    they react with molecule of substance one and then the molecule of substance two is brought in the reaction
    so those two can react now creating one or more new molecules as a final result
    and also, by the way, leaving the catalyst unchanged - right?

    Now - imagine a catalyst that takes in H2O and anything abundant (from the atmosphere) - say N2, so at room temperature it turns
    H2O and N2
    H2 and N2O (a laughing gas) :D

    So - what are the thoughts on that? First: how much is such reaction discussed at all - I don't know?
    Is it really possible to make such catalyst? (I mean the benefits of such chemical reaction are obvious - H2 can be used as fuel and N2O is a powerful oxidizer - those two could power vehicles and stuff...)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Please have a look at the wiki on catalysts:

    The purpose of a catalyst is to alter the rate of a reaction.
  4. Aug 23, 2010 #3
    Even at ambient temperature it occurs that H2O splits into H2 and O2:

    "but at ambient temperatures only one molecule in 100 trillion dissociates by the effect of heat"
    "Thermal water splitting has been investigated for hydrogen production since the 1960s"

    Does it happen because of impurities? Which impurity then? Or maybe it happens without impurities - then why - what causes it?
    Why does it happen for that "crazy" one while others stay unchanged?
    Maybe we would learn something if we could spot that one little rascal. :9
    (I don't say it's a catalyst reaction maybe it's some common chemical reaction - but why does it wait to occur - is it just temperature... I mean - what happens there? Maybe some electric current occurred? Maybe a nuclear reaction of some nearby atom triggered it?)

    I mean - what ever it is it produces hydrogen at room temperature without our intervention, on its own!
    If we figure what happened we could use that to make that effect on larger scale.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  5. Aug 23, 2010 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    It produces hydrogen but very slowly and inefficiently. And the process is very well understood from the kinetic and thermodynamic points of view, there is nothing here that won't be described by known and well established theories. Please read about chemical equilibrium and so called Gibbs free energy.
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