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Hydrogen is the simplest, lightest element in the known universe. It is made up of one proton and one electron.
Because of its simplicity, it is believed by some that hydrogen is the root of all elements.

A hydrogen atom is an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. The electrically neutral atom contains a single positively charged proton and a single negatively charged electron bound to the nucleus by the Coulomb force. Atomic hydrogen constitutes about 75% of the elemental mass of the universe. (Most of the universe's mass is not in the form of chemical elements—that is, "baryonic" matter—but is made up of dark matter and dark energy.)

In everyday life on Earth, isolated hydrogen atoms (usually called "atomic hydrogen" or, more precisely, "monatomic hydrogen") are extremely rare. Instead, hydrogen tends to combine with other atoms in compounds, or with itself to form ordinary (diatomic) hydrogen gas, H2. "Atomic hydrogen" and "hydrogen atom" in ordinary English use have overlapping, yet distinct, meanings. For example, a water molecule contains two hydrogen atoms, but does not contain atomic hydrogen (which would refer to isolated hydrogen atoms). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_atom#Isotopes

The H–H bond is one of the toughest bonds in chemistry, with a bond dissociation enthalpy of 435.88 kJ/mol at 298 K (25 °C; 77 °F). As a consequence of this strong bond, H2 dissociates to only a minor extent until higher temperatures. At 3,000 K (2,730 °C; 4,940 °F), the degree of dissociation is just 7.85%:  H2 = 2 H.

Hydrogen atoms are so reactive that they combine with almost all elements.

(H)  has three naturally occurring isotopes, sometimes denoted 1H, 2H, and 3H. Other, highly unstable nuclei (4H to 7H) have been synthesized in the laboratory but not observed in nature. The most stable radioisotope is tritium (3H), with a half-life of 12.32 years. All heavier isotopes are synthetic and have a half-life less than a zeptosecond (10-21 second). Of these, 5H is the most stable, and the least stable isotope is 7H.


Hydrogen is the only element that has different names for its isotopes in common use today. The 2H (or hydrogen-2) isotope is usually called deuterium, while the 3H (or hydrogen-3) isotope is usually called tritium. The ordinary isotope of hydrogen, with no neutrons, is sometimes called "protium".

  • 1 Hydrogen-1 (protium) 

    1H is the most common hydrogen isotope with an abundance of more than 99.98%. Because the nucleus of this isotope consists of only a single proton and no neuton, it is given the descriptive but rarely used formal name protium.

    The proton has never been observed to decay and hydrogen-1 and is therefore considered a stable isotope. Some recent theories of particle physics predict that proton decay can occur with a half-life of the order of 1036 years. If this prediction is found to be true, then hydrogen-1 (and indeed all nuclei now believed to be stable) are only observationally stable. To date however, experiments have shown that if proton decay occurs, the half-life must be greater than 6.6 Χ 1033 years.


  • 2 Hydrogen-2 (deuterium)

    2H is the other stable hydrogen isotope, is known as deuterium and contains one proton and one neutron in its nucleus. Deuterium comprises 0.0026 – 0.0184% (by population, not by mass) of hydrogen samples on Earth, with the lower number tending to be found in samples of hydrogen gas and the higher enrichment (0.015% or 150 ppm) typical of ocean water. Deuterium on Earth has been enriched with respect to its initial concentration in the Big Bang and the outer solar system (about 27 ppm, by atom fraction) and its concentration in older parts of the Milky Way galaxy (about 23 ppm). Presumably the differential concentration of D in the inner solar system is due to the lower volatility of deuterium gas and compounds, enriching deuterium fractions in comets and planets exposed to significant heat from the Sun over billions of years of solar system evolution.

    Deuterium is not radioactive, and does not represent a significant toxicity hazard. Water enriched in molecules that include deuterium instead of normal hydrogen is called heavy water. Deuterium and its compounds are used as a non-radioactive label in chemical experiments and in solvents for 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Heavy water is used as a neutron moderator and coolant for nuclear reactors. Deuterium is also a potential fuel for commercial nuclear fusion.


  • 3 Hydrogen-3 (tritium)

    3H is known as tritium and contains one proton and two neutrons in its nucleus. It is radioactive, decaying into helium-3 through β− decay with a half-life of 12.32 years. Small amounts of tritium occur naturally because of the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric gases. Tritium has also been released during nuclear weapons tests. It is used in thermonuclear fusion weapons, as a tracer in isotope geochemistry, and specialized in self-powered lighting devices.

    The most common method of producing tritium is by bombarding a natural isotope of lithium, lithium-6, with neutrons in a nuclear reactor.

    Tritium was once used routinely in chemical and biological labeling experiments as a radiolabel, which has become less common in recent times. D-T nuclear fusion uses tritium as its main reactant, along with deuterium, liberating energy through the loss of mass when the two nuclei collide and fuse at high temperatures.


  • 4 Hydrogen-4
  • 5 Hydrogen-5
  • 6 Hydrogen-6
  • 7 Hydrogen-7


Spin isomers of hydrogen

Molecular hydrogen occurs in two isomeric forms, one with its proton spins aligned parallel (orthohydrogen), the other with its  proton spins aligned antiparallel (parahydrogen). At room temperature and thermal equilibrium, hydrogen consists of approximately 75% orthohydrogen and 25% parahydrogen.

Nuclear spin states of H2

Each hydrogen molecule (H2) consists of two hydrogen atoms linked by a covalent bond. If we neglect the small proportion of deuterium and tritium which may be present, each hydrogen atom consists of one proton and one electron. Each proton has an associated magnetic moment, which is associated with the proton's spin of 1/2. In the H2 molecule, the spins of the two hydrogen nuclei (protons) couple to form a triplet state known as orthohydrogen, and a singlet state known as parahydrogen.

The triplet orthohydrogen state has total nuclear spin I = 1 so that the component along a defined axis can have the three values MI = 1, 0, or −1. The corresponding nuclear spin wavefunctions are  |\uparrow \uparrow \rangle, 1/ \sqrt{2}(|\uparrow \downarrow \rangle +|\downarrow \uparrow \rangle) and  |\downarrow \downarrow \rangle (in standard bra-ket notation). Each orthohydrogen energy level then has a (nuclear) spin degeneracy of three, meaning that it corresponds to three states of the same energy, although this degeneracy can be broken by a magnetic field.

The singlet parahydrogen state has nuclear spin quantum numbers I = 0 and MI = 0, with wavefunction  1/\sqrt{2}(|\uparrow \downarrow \rangle - |\downarrow \uparrow \rangle) . Since there is only one possibility, each parahydrogen level has a spin degeneracy of one and is said to be nondegenerate.

The ratio between the ortho and para forms is about 3:1 at standard temperature and pressure – a reflection of the ratio of spin degeneracies. However if thermal equilibrium between the two forms is established, the para form dominates at low temperatures (approx. 99.8% at 20 K). Other molecules and functional groups containing two hydrogen atoms, such as water and methylene, also have ortho and para forms (e.g. orthowater and parawater), although their ratios differ from that of the dihydrogen molecule.



Is Hydrogen Safe?
Hydrogen combustion produces only water. When pure hydrogen is burned in pure oxygen, only pure water is
produced. Granted, that's an ideal scenario, which doesn't occur outside of laboratories and the space shuttle.
In any case, when a hydrogen engine burns, it actually cleans the ambient air, by completing combustion of the
unburned hydrocarbons that surround it.

Advantages of hydrogen used as a fuel!

  • Hydrogen is non-polluting. When burned, water is the by-product.

  • Hydrogen is cheaper to produce than gasoline.

  • Hydrogen is safer than any other fuel; gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas.

  • Hydrogen can help prevent the depletion of fossil fuels.

  • Hydrogen can be produced on site, without the need to transport it.


    Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia Combustion  |  Electron Energy Levels  |  History  |  Molecular Forms 
    National Vision of Americas Transition to a Hydrogen Economy  
    Effect of Hydrogen Enriched Hydrocarbon Combustion on Emissions and Performance  
    The Chemistry and Manufacture of Hydrogen (e-book)
                    Published in 1919. What you always wanted to know.
    The Electrolysis of Water - Processes and Applications -
                    Published in 1904
    Experimental Studies on the Hydrogen Electrode - 1922  
    The Determination of Hydrogen Ions - 1923  
    Energy.gov  Course Manuals
This course manual features technical information on the use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel. It covers hydrogen properties, use, and safety as well as fuel cell technologies, systems, engine design, safety, and maintenance. It also presents the different types of fuel cells and hybrid electric vehicles.


Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology - Funny video clips are a click away



What Is Hydrogen? -- powered by ehow
About Hydrogen -- powered by eHow.com


Proof that supplemental hydrogen improves emissions and  fuel  efficiency has long been known by scientist and experts

The controversial debate on supplemental hydrogen use (hydrogen induction into fuel burning engines)  has long been answered by scientist of recent times and decades ago. Yet the question still lingers: Does supplemental hydrogen really work?

The documentations that follow are from reputable scientist and engineers that studied hydrogen induction. Most of these documents are by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). Supplemental hydrogen development goes back to the 1800's and in the early 1900's patent applications ensued (see below). Some abbreviations used in these documents are as follows: ICE - Internal Combustion Engine, and SI - Spark Ignition; as in an "SI engine".

Cassidy, J.F., “Emissions and Total Energy Consumption of a Multi-Cylinder Piston Engine Running on Gasoline and a Hydrogen-Gasoline Mixture,” Technical Note Report # E-9105, May, 1977, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C. Adding hydrogen to gasoline significantly increased flame speed and allows for a leaner air/fuel ratio. All emissions levels decreased at these leaner conditions.

Allgeier, T., Klenk, M., Landenfeld, T., Conte, E., Boulouchos, K., Czerwinski, J., “Advanced Emission and Fuel Economy Concept Using Combined Injection of Gasoline and Hydrogen in SI Engines,” Publication #2004-01-1270, March, 2004, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline produces improvements in engine efficiency and emissions.

Apostolescu, N., Chiriac, R., “A Study of Combustion of Hydrogen-Enriched Gasoline in a Spark Ignition Engine,” Publication #960603, February, 1996, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline produces improvements in engine efficiency and emissions, due to accelerated combustion.

Conte, E., Boulouchos, K., “Influence of Hydrogen-Rich-Gas Addition on Combustion, Pollutant Formation and Efficiency of an IC-SI Engine,” Publication #2004-01-0972, March, 2004, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline results in lower emissions and a significant increase in engine efficiency.

Fontana, G., Galloni, E., Jannelli, E., Minutillo, M., “Performance and Fuel Consumption Estimation of a Hydrogen Enriched Gasoline Engine at Part-Load Operation,” Publication #2002-01-2196, July, 2002, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline increases the flame speed at all gasoline air/fuel ratios, so engine operation at very lean mixtures is possible.

Goldwitz, J., Heywood, J., “Combustion Optimization in a Hydrogen-Enhanced Lean Burn SI Engine,” Publication #2005-01-0251, April, 2005, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline can extend the lean limits of the air/fuel ratio.

Green, J., Bromberg, L., Cohn, D., Rabinovitch, A., Domingo, N., Storey, J., Wagner, R., Armfield, J., ”Experimental Evaluation of SI Engine Operation Supplemented By Hydrogen Rich Gas From a Compact Plasma Boosted Reformer,” Publication #2000-01-2206, June, 2000, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline can reduce exhaust emissions and increase efficiency. A large reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions can be achieved without a catalytic converter due to very lean operation under certain conditions.

Henshaw, P., D’Andrea, T., Ting, D., Sobiesiak, A., “Investigating Combustion Enhancement and Emissions Reduction With the Addition of 2H2 + O2 to a SI Engine,” Publication #2003-32-0011, September, 2003, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline resulted in improved engine.

Houseman, J., Cerini, D., “On-Board Hydrogen Generator for a Partial Hydrogen Injection Internal Combustion,” Publication #740600, February, 1974, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. A compact onboard hydrogen generator has been developed for use with a hydrogen-enriched gasoline internal combustion engine.

Jing-ding, L., Ying-ging, L., Tian-shen, D., “An Experimental Study on Combustion of Gasoline-Hydrogen Mixed Fuel,” Publication #830897, April, 1989, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline produces improvements in engine efficiency and emissions due to accelerated flame speed and combustion rate.

Lang, O., Habermann, K., Thiele, R., Fricke, F., “Gasoline Combustion with Future Fuels,” Publication #2007-26-021, January, 2007, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. This paper describes current and future gasoline combustion systems with emphasis on efficiency improvement and emission reduction.

Shinagawa, T., Okumura, T., Furuno, S., Kim, K., “Effects of Hydrogen Addition to SI Engine on Knock Behavior,” Publication #2004-01-1851, June, 2004, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline reduced knock due to accelerated fuel burn and shortened combustion period.

Sjarstrarm, K., Eriksson, S., Landqvist, G., “Onboard Hydrogen Generation for Hydrogen Injection into Internal Combustion Engines,” Publication #810348, February, 1981, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline showed a potential for very low pollutant emissions with increased energy efficiency.

Stebar, R., Parks, F., “Emission Control with Lean Operation Using Hydrogen-Supplemented Fuel,” Publication #740187, February, 1974, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline resulted in significant efficiency improvements due to the extension of the lean operating limit.

Tully, E., Heywood, J., “Lean-Burn Characteristics of a Gasoline Engine Enriched with Hydrogen from a Plasmatron Fuel Reformer,” Publication #2003-01-0630, March, 2003, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI. Adding hydrogen to gasoline extended the lean limit of engine operation, resulting in greater efficiency and reduced emissions, both hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

Conte, E., Boulouchos, K., “A Quasi-Dimensional Model for Estimating the Influence of Hydrogen- Rich Gas Addition on Turbulent Flame Speed and Flame Front Propagation in IC-SI Engines,” Publication #2005-01-0232, April, 2005, Society of Automotive Engineers, Troy, MI.
Adding hydrogen to gasoline produces lower emissions due to increased flame speed and resultant accelerated fuel burn.

Heywood, J., Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals, McGraw-Hill International Editions Automotive Technology Series, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 1988. This text, by a leading authority in the field, presents a fundamental and factual development of the science and engineering underlying the design of combustion engines and turbines. An extensive illustration program supports the concepts and theories discussed. It is referenced in many of the papers listed in this document.

Lewis, B., Von Elbe, G., Combustion, Flames, and Explosions of Gases, 3rd ed., Academic Press, Orlando, FL, 1987. The fundamental principles of gas combustion are. Extensive diagrams, graphs, photographs, and tables of numerical data are provided. Referenced in the links in this document.

Taylor, C. The Internal Combustion Engine in Theory and Practice, 2 Vols., 2nd ed., Revised, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1985. This revised edition of a classic work incorporates changes due to an emphasis on fuel economy and reduced emissions.

Documented United States Patents

United States Patent #1,112,188 issued on September 29, 1914 to Leonard Atwood
A means for improving combustion by mixing different fuels.

United States Patent #1,262,034 issued on April 9, 1918 to Charles Frazer
A hydro-oxygen generator for use with internal combustion engines.

United States Patent #1,490,975 issued on April 15, 1924 to William Howard
Improving internal combustion engines by introducing hydrogen gas to increase flame speed.

United States Patent #1,876,879 issued on September 13, 1932 to Walter Drabold
Improving internal combustion engines by varying the proportions of energized gases to supplement normal carburetion.

United States Patent #2,509,498 issued on May 30, 1950 to George Heyl
Supplementing the fuel-air mixture in an internal combustion engine by adding oxygen and hydrogen produced by electrolysis.

United States Patent #3,311,097 issued on March 28, 1967 to Georg Mittelstaedt
Introduction of hydrogen and oxygen produced by electrolysis improves fuel economy, increases power, and reduces emissions.

United States Patent #4,023,545 issued on May 17, 1977 to Edward Mosher and John Webster
An on-board electrolysis unit powered by the existing electrical system comprises a stainless steel tank, anode and cathode.

United States Patent #6,209,493 issued on April 3, 2001 to Bill Ross
An on-board electrolysis unit includes a sealed plastic body, reservoir, and shut-offs for low-level, high temperature, and high pressure.






Parahydrogen vs Orthohydrogen

Page Last Edited - 05/03/2022

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