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Old 08-18-2008, 10:19 PM   #1
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Electrolysis, how and whys?

Ok I am doing some bench experiments on different electrolysis methods, and I have several questions that hopefully someone can answer.

I am using distilled water with added baking soda. I am using stainless steel wire wrapped around plexiglass with the cathode and anode about 1/8" apart. I am using a one quart size mason jar and felt that I should keep the main part of the wires below the half level line so that when water level decreased it would maintain the same amount of HHO production for as long as possible.

Currently I am using 24 oz of water with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. At 12v I get a 4 amp draw. After about an hour the water does start getting fairly warm but not too hot to touch, probably about 105 degrees.

Here are my questions.
1. Why does the water turn brown and then brown particles begin to form?

2. Why do I get big bubbles at first when I make a new electrolyzer, but within a few minutes the bubbles drease in size to very small ones?

3. Why at first is the amperage is about 80% of what it ends up being, and it this related to question #2?

4. Is the current (amperage) draw directly proportional to the amount of HHO being produced?

5. Is it better to use more wire and less baking soda to achieve the same amount of current draw? At what point of water saturation with baking soda is too much? At what point does it stop increasing the HHO production?

6. When I add the same measurement of salt (sea salt) compared to baking soda I get more current draw, is salt better to use as a result?

7. Is there a way to measure HHO production in my experiments? I have been using current as a guide to better productivity?

8. I am working under the assumption that the closer I can get the anode and cathode to each other the better, as then current doesn't have to travel through as much water. Is this correct or would separating them further apart work better?

9. If I built two Electrolyzers, and wired them in series and the current droped would not my HHO production reduce as well or would my HHO production acctually be more productive?

10. What is the relation ship of anode and cathode surface area and HHO production?

Thanks in advance in helping me with my Electrolysis experiments, I want to understand it well and come up with a good system before I put it into a vehicle. Beside I still need to consider how the vehicle is going to react to it and how to best marry the two.

Terry

P.S. If it is helpful I can take some videos as I go along in my experiments and post them on ebay with links here.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:05 AM   #2
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There is a section in the forums for HHO. You would probably get better responses to your questions there. There are also some HHO forums on the Internet that might be of assistance to you. I don't know the answers to all of your questions, but I do know that water4gas recommends 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a pint jar of water. From everything I have heard 1/8" is about the correct distance between cathode and anode. I don't think wiring several in series is supposed to effect HHO output for each reactor just help keep the amps and heat to a minimum. As for the question about using salt instead of baking soda you want to use whatever gives you the least current draw to keep from putting more strain on your alternator. I think water4gas says that using 5' of SS wire and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a 1 pint container will draw about 1-2 amps and the amps won't increase when running several in series, you can run up to 6 in series.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:26 AM   #3
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I think water4gas says that using 5' of SS wire and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a 1 pint container will draw about 1-2 amps and the amps won't increase when running several in series, you can run up to 6 in series.
LOL!

Getting five feet of stainless steel wire into a 1 pint container is going to be a might bit tough. Must be very skinny wire, and even then there won't be much room for water... Just kidding.

(FYI, 5' = 5 feet, 5" = 5 inches)

There is TONS of information on electrolysis available on the web, and in your local library. Ask your friend Google. Many other useful searches could also be used:

HHO Fuel Cell

HHO Bubbler

etc.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
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In all my excitement I didn't look closely enough and missed the HHO forum, I can repost this there if it doesn't get much activity. I have found some answers , or answers of sorts on the internet to some of my questions, so I will post them in a few days. What really concerns me at this point, is the brown sludge that developes during electrolysis. There are a few theories why it is there, saying it is decomposition of the stainless used as electrodes. This may be, but to me it sure seems like some chemical reaction is happening.

To me it seems that this exact same process is used by many to accomplish many different things. For instance my father in law has a salt water pool, where you put salt in at the begining of the summer season to get the correct ppm. Then by electrolysis it turns the salt into chlorine in the water, this way providing a constant chemical production rather than peaks and valley of chlorine by the regular chemical methode. Also coin collectors use electrolysis to clean coins often using salt or baking soda, and adjust the content to just provide enough to clean without deteriorating the metals.

So it is obvious that water with salt or baking soda can use the process of electrolysis to accomplish different things, but the brown sludges seems to be a chemical reaction, perhaps it is oxidation from the metal mixing with some component of the electrolyte.

So far the results of my bench experiments have taught me that metal surface area is directly proportional to HHO production and amperage draw. Likewise the amount of electrolyte in the solution facilitates HHO production and thus increases amperage draw. Meaning that the more ppm of electrolyte the better conduction, the better the conduction the more electrons traveling through the water, and at the electrodes produce more hydrogen and oxygen.

It seems the favorite electrolyte is Potassium Hydroxide (commonly called pot ash) for HHO producers. The reason give is that it prolongs the life of the electrodes best.

At this point I can also see an advantage of using as much electrode surface area as possible because to get the desired amount of HHO less electrolyte is needed, which in turn would mean less electrode deterioration. So it would make sense to make an electrolyzer with as much surface area as possible and use the least amount of electrolyte to get the desired HHO production. I can also see now why some use PWM's to control current to reduce heat, lengthen electrode life, limit power use. Water4gas's method is a nice test method but it would seem that you would really want something nicer for long term use. But it is a good system to learn and get your feet wet.

At this point I am still skeptical of all this, but want to find out for myself.


Thanks,
Terry
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:47 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=thornburg;115581] LOL!

Getting five feet of stainless steel wire into a 1 pint container is going to be a might bit tough. Must be very skinny wire, and even then there won't be much room for water... Just kidding.

(FYI, 5' = 5 feet, 5" = 5 inches)


I don't know what gauge wire they are saying to use. but 5 feet is only 2'6" for the cathode and 2'6" for the anode. When they are spaced at 1/8" apart and spooled around the plexiglass you can figure each round will be somewhere between 6 and 8" each which would only be 3-5 rounds of each wire and a pint jar is probably about 5" tall so that's not that much wire even if you are using wire that is 1/8" in diameter. That would be maximum of 1 round of each wire per inch.
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Old 08-20-2008, 07:02 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=Ford Man;115628]
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Originally Posted by thornburg View Post
LOL!

Getting five feet of stainless steel wire into a 1 pint container is going to be a might bit tough. Must be very skinny wire, and even then there won't be much room for water... Just kidding.

(FYI, 5' = 5 feet, 5" = 5 inches)


I don't know what gauge wire they are saying to use. but 5 feet is only 2'6" for the cathode and 2'6" for the anode. When they are spaced at 1/8" apart and spooled around the plexiglass you can figure each round will be somewhere between 6 and 8" each which would only be 3-5 rounds of each wire and a pint jar is probably about 5" tall so that's not that much wire even if you are using wire that is 1/8" in diameter. That would be maximum of 1 round of each wire per inch.
8" round? Their plexi rod is over 2" in diameter? Where do you find a pint jar with an opening more than 4" wide to let in those two 2.x" plexi rods?

I do see your point that 5' of wire is not as much as it sounds, as long as the gauge is small, but your size assumption was a little flawed, I think (i.e. you would need a very short, fat jar for what you described). I think if the plexi rods are 1" in diameter, then it only takes ~9 spiral loops around it to make 30". Oh well, it looked like an " vs ' mistake to me, but I forgot that these HHO people (I am not one of them) like to spiral their electrodes.

Wouldn't a mesh be much better?
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:57 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=thornburg;115678]
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Originally Posted by Ford Man View Post

8" round? Their plexi rod is over 2" in diameter? Where do you find a pint jar with an opening more than 4" wide to let in those two 2.x" plexi rods?

I do see your point that 5' of wire is not as much as it sounds, as long as the gauge is small, but your size assumption was a little flawed, I think (i.e. you would need a very short, fat jar for what you described). I think if the plexi rods are 1" in diameter, then it only takes ~9 spiral loops around it to make 30". Oh well, it looked like an " vs ' mistake to me, but I forgot that these HHO people (I am not one of them) like to spiral their electrodes.

Wouldn't a mesh be much better?
They suggest putting both the anode and cathode on the same piece of plexiglas at 1/8" apart that way you have them 1/8" apart all the way around the diameter of the plexiglas for better gas production. The correct formula for figuring the amount per round would be pi X radius squared so if you have a 1" radius that is just over 8/100ths of a foot so the problem would be as follows .08' X 3.14 X 2 = .5025' and .50' translates into 6" per round (5 rounds X 6" = 30") so as long as the jar has a 2" opening in the top which I think a pint jar has you could get the plexiglas inside it. I think they claim that mesh will deteriorate to quickly is the reason for not using mesh as the electrodes.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:52 AM   #8
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They suggest putting both the anode and cathode on the same piece of plexiglas at 1/8" apart that way you have them 1/8" apart all the way around the diameter of the plexiglas for better gas production. The correct formula for figuring the amount per round would be pi X radius squared so if you have a 1" radius that is just over 8/100ths of a foot so the problem would be as follows .08' X 3.14 X 2 = .5025' and .50' translates into 6" per round (5 rounds X 6" = 30") so as long as the jar has a 2" opening in the top which I think a pint jar has you could get the plexiglas inside it. I think they claim that mesh will deteriorate to quickly is the reason for not using mesh as the electrodes.
The correct (but simplified) formula for the length would actually be the circumference measurement, ie 2*pi*r, not pi*r^2 (which is the AREA measurement). It actually comes out a bit longer, because you are spiraling, not going straight around. Notice that when you actually multiplied out you did .08 * 3.14 * 2, not 3.14 * .08 * .08, which would be .02 ft^2, or 2.89 in^2, which is the area of perpendicular cross section of you plexi rod. Also note that I listed diameter, which 2*r.

Anyway... you clearly know much more about HHO products than I do. I was just trying to be funny (in the first post), because I envisioned 1/4" or larger steel wire, and figured that 5 feet of that would take up a LOT of space. I wrongly assumed it was a feet vs. inches error.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just for fun... 60" * pi * .25" * .25" ~= 12 cubic inches, one pint ~= 29 cubic inches, a 1" radius plexi rod 5" long is a bit more than 15 cubic inches... leaving a approximately 2 cubic inches for water. With 1/8" wire, it drops to 3 cubic inches for wire, leaving 11 cubic inches of water. If you go to 16 gauge wire, it goes to half a cubic inch for wire, leaving about 13 cubic inches for water. That's about 7 ounces of water. I'm having trouble finding the density of brown's gas, but I'm sure 7 ounces of water makes many liters of gas.

EDIT: According to one site, the ratio is 2500:1, so 7 ozs of water would make over 500 liters of Brown's gas. Of course, you electrolysis is not going to work properly all the way to the bottom of the jar, but you get the idea...
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:48 AM   #9
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The correct (but simplified) formula for the length would actually be the circumference measurement, ie 2*pi*r, not pi*r^2 (which is the AREA measurement). It actually comes out a bit longer, because you are spiraling, not going straight around. Notice that when you actually multiplied out you did .08 * 3.14 * 2, not 3.14 * .08 * .08, which would be .02 ft^2, or 2.89 in^2, which is the area of perpendicular cross section of you plexi rod. Also note that I listed diameter, which 2*r

Just for fun... 60" * pi * .25" * .25" ~= 12 cubic inches, one pint ~= 29 cubic inches, a 1" radius plexi rod 5" long is a bit more than 15 cubic inches... leaving a approximately 2 cubic inches for water. With 1/8" wire, it drops to 3 cubic inches for wire, leaving 11 cubic inches of water. If you go to 16 gauge wire, it goes to half a cubic inch for wire, leaving about 13 cubic inches for water. That's about 7 ounces of water. I'm having trouble finding the density of brown's gas, but I'm sure 7 ounces of water makes many liters of gas.

EDIT: According to one site, the ratio is 2500:1, so 7 ozs of water would make over 500 liters of Brown's gas. Of course, you electrolysis is not going to work properly all the way to the bottom of the jar, but you get the idea...

Yea, I had the numbers correct I just put in the wrong formula. When making the plexiglas to use in one of their systems they don't use a solid rod what they do is make a + shape by glueing strips of plexiglass together which lets the whole wire be surronded by water which would probably get better gas production and also makes room for a lot more water. Actually the length wouldn't be what we figured because rather than going in a perfect circle it would be following the points on the + so it would be just a bit shorter.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:44 AM   #10
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Thought I would update how my little experiments are going with HHO electrolyzers. At this point I am using stainless steel blanks that go over AC power outlets in your house. This is a much larger surface area than wire wrapped around the plexi could provide. I use far less catalyst now, I was using baking soda, but have started using potassium hydroxide. No matter what catalyst I use I get oxidation on the electrodes, but far less sludge with potassium hydroxide than baking soda.

One problem I am trying to overcome right now is heat build up because of the current running through the electrolyzer. It appears at this point that the plates heat up and that in turn heats up the water. I am trying to keep the amperage below 4 amperes, but a lot of folks are using as much as 15 amperes through their electrolyzers and that seems like it would cause a lot of heat.

As far as oxidation when one plate is producing pure oxygen I don't see how you could get around the plates getting oxidized eventually, at least one of them. The oxygen and the stainless steel's reaction to it I feel is what is making the water turn brown. As far as the brown sludge when using baking soda I think the baking soda is reacting with the oxidation process somehow. With Potassium hydroxide it doesn't seem to be producing he brown sludge but just a dust that builds up on the bottom, and the chlorine that baking soda and salt produced seems cgone, that smell is gone anyway.

I am using an HHO electrolyzer in one vehicle now and the gas mileage has improved a little, about three miles to the gallon. I am going to purchase a Scan Gauge, this will help a lot figure out what works and how much.

Terry
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