Background Information

Hydrogen was discovered by Henry Cavendish in 1766 and was later named by Antoine  Lavoisier in 1783. It is the first element of the periodic table and is also the lightest, with an atomic mass of only 1.008. The hydrogen atom has 1 electron. Hydrogen is also the most abundant chemical substance in the entire universe! Its physical state in a normal setting is gas and it is colourless.

How is it used in everyday life?

Hydrogen is very reactive so easily forms compounds. Hydrogen is found in large amounts in gasoline, but in the form of hydrocarbons. Gasoline is used on an everyday basis to fuel vehicles which take you to school, work and home. Hydrogen is also contained within ammonia based fertilisers, which help increase the yield of crops thus providing us with better quality food and our farmers with higher profits.

Finally, hydrogen peroxide can be used to whiten our clothing, clean surfaces and remove harmful chemicals and pesticides from fruit. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel but is EXPLOSIVE when mixed with oxygen. A test for hydrogen is that a lighted splint makes a squeaky “pop” sound when placed into a test tube of hydrogen. This is a mini explosion!

Car being filled at petrol pump