Producing Hydrogen at 1.24 Volts!
Here's a little experiment that even a child can safely perform that proves that there is no 'minimum voltage' for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The supposed minimum hydrolysis voltage is 1.24 volts. According to standard theory, no reaction should take place at room temperature below this voltage. This theoretical figure was determined by taking the energy released per mole when hydrogen is burned. Using that figure, and knowing how many amp hours are needed to produce 1 mole of gas, they calculated the theoretical minimum voltage. In other words, this figure was not determined by first-hand experimentation. Ok, here's how to do it: 1. fill a small jar with tap water and in it dissolve table salt until reaching full saturation. 2. Get two pieces of steel to use as electrodes. Two short pieces of 1 inch wide flat stock were used in the original experiment. They were spaced about 1/8 inch apart. 3. Hook up a 1.5 volt dry-cell battery to the two plates using a couple of test leads and then measure the voltage across the cell plates. You should see some gas coming off the electrodes and it'll be fizzing. (my measurement showed 1.51 volts under load) 4. Next, connect a small silicon rectifier diode in series with the battery and cell. The particular diode I had available dropped the circuit voltage by about .5 volts. The current will be quite a bit lower than it was, and the gas production will be quite a bit slower. But, you should be able to see and hear the bubbles coming off the plates. (my cell voltage was 1.05 volts during this part of the test.) Congratulations! Your cell voltage should be lower than 1.24 volts, yet you are still producing hydrogen and oxygen gas! At these lower voltages, you will be producing gas at greater than 100% efficiency according to standard hydrolysis theory! The reaction in this voltage range is also endothermic. Go figure.