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Homework Help: Please answer this one quick question! (about fuel cells)

  1. Dec 22, 2006 #1
    I'm a physics student trying to do a project on fuels cells. One thing I don't get is, when the atom goes through the electr-- whatever, how does it seperate into electrons and protons.

    I thought the only way to seperate electrons from the nucleus is by extreme heat and pressure, like that of nuclear fusion. Obviously nuclear fusion isn't occuring in a fuel cell.

    My only thought is that the electro-- whatever, is a type of filter, but then again, you just can't filter out electrons.

    :uhh: :uhh:
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2006 #2
    Also, even if you don't know it, post something so that I know people are actually reading my question.
  4. Dec 22, 2006 #3

    I think you meant plasma instead of fusion
  5. Dec 22, 2006 #4

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Electrons aren't in the nucleus to begin with. What a fuel cell does is separate electrons from hydrogen atoms, creating hydrogen ions (protons). These are chemical, not nuclear reactions.

    Read this: http://www.howstuffworks.com/fuel-cell.htm"
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  6. Dec 22, 2006 #5
    Electrode ?

    You should look up chemical cells, Ionic reactions and redox reactions. The interplay of charge is very important in chemistry and happens all the time in reactions, even at room temperature and pressure.

    You have probably come across a fruit-battery, like a lemon acid battery, supplying current by the reaction between the metal electrodes and the acid.

    Its essentially a fuel-cell, the fuel is the electrode metal and the acid.
  7. Dec 23, 2006 #6
    Thank You guys very much!!!
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