We are all familiar with the traditional helium balloons, which can easily fly. There is a very interesting alternative to create this type of balloon without the need for helium. The gas we can use is hydrogen, a gas that we can synthesise. Next, we will see how to make hydrogen balloons in a homemade and simple way.
- 1 L glass or crystal bottle.
- 2 L plastic bottle.
- Thin plastic tubing of a similar gauge to butane gas transport tubing.
- Silver foil.
- Glass container.
- Rubber balloon.
Hydrogen creation process
This experiment should be carried out in an open-air site where gases are not concentrated, because although the amounts of reagents are very small, precautions should be taken.
Take the glass bottle and place it inside the glass container. Place water inside the glass container, covering about three quarters of the glass bottle.
Next, we connect the glass bottle with the plastic bottle, using the plastic tube. To avoid leaks, we can use adhesive tape or silicone to prevent gas leaks between the two bottles.
Before sealing the plastic bottle, we place a tube that comes out of the bottle and remains free. With this tube, we will fill the balloons with hydrogen.
Before sealing the glass bottle, we put some salfumán inside the bottle and some silver foil. The amounts will depend on how the reaction takes place, so these can be calculated by trial and error.
Now, we place a rubber balloon at the free end and wait for it to fill with hydrogen.
How it works
The chemical reaction that takes place inside the glass bottle gives off hydrogen which is sent into the balloon, thanks to the apparatus we have created. As hydrogen is lighter than air, it will lift the balloon easily, as if it were helium.