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Hydrogen Room

  1. Aug 27, 2004 #1
    What would happen if I lit a match in an air-tight room completely filled with hydrogen?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2004 #2
  4. Aug 27, 2004 #3


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    With no oxidizer present, very little would happen.

    - Warren
  5. Aug 28, 2004 #4
    would the match even light if there was no oxygen in the room?
  6. Aug 28, 2004 #5


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    when I was 8 years old the 7 year old next door to us down the street
    performed an experiment with wooden strike-anywhere "kitchen matches"
    that demonstrated this, which was not a good thing

    all the matches I know of have the oxidizer mixed in
    like in gunpowder there is KNO3 which will not burn but
    which will supply oxygen to charcoal powder so that the charcoal will burn
    that is roughlyspeaking why you mix KNO3 with charcoal (and sulphur)
    to make black gunpowder

    you dont have to have air in order to have an oxidation reaction
    matches would strike in a vacuum, and flare briefly but quickly go out
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2004
  7. Aug 28, 2004 #6


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    The explosive region of the hydrogen-oxygen mixture diagram is between about 10% and 90% oxygen - if I recall correctly. With less or more oxygen than that you don't get an explosion.

    You could get some oxygen from outgassing from the match (matchbook) or your breathing apparatus, but it probably won't be enough to ignite the hydrogen.

    I'm not sure if other reactions are possible, though. For instance, under the right conditions, hydrogen will reduce carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide (or even plain carbon ?) and water vapor. I'm not sure of the energetics for that reaction.
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