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Author Topic: How do water fuel cells work?  (Read 66782 times)

Larry

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How do water fuel cells work?
« on: 08/05/2008 08:52:55 »
Larry asked the Naked Scientists:

Please explain the possibility of a Water Fuel Cell.

The atomic make up of water makes the molecule perfect for a fuel source. The water molecule is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen.  When the water molecule is separated into its component atoms (H and O) and oxidized as fuel, the resulting energy is two and one half times more powerful than gasoline. The by-product of the combustion is water vapour. Making water as a fuel, powerful and pollution free!

The problem has always been how to separate water economically. Traditional methods of separating the bond of the water molecule have resulted in failure.  To power a car by these methods would not move the car very far. The car?s electrical system could not recharge from the process quickly enough. The result would be a quickly drained battery. For many years Stanley Meyer researched this problem and found a way around it!

Is this true and possible?


What do you think?


 

lyner

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #1 on: 08/05/2008 16:02:22 »
This question gets asked very regularly. Water is an OXIDE not a fuel. You need at least as much energy from somewhere to separate the H and O atoms (to Reduce it).  There are legions of the Pro Hydrogen brigade. I have the idea that most of them think Hydrogen is available for nothing!
The basic equation is
Energy you get out
       = Energy you put in minus energy you lose in the process.
Your battery would get you a few yards down the road and would best be used to work an electric motor, directly.

Using solar energy, on a huge scale 'for free', it would be possible to obtain your Hydrogen. All you have to do is store it economically and then use a fuel cell in your car.
But that's not the question you asked, is it?


 

Offline skeptic

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #2 on: 21/05/2008 02:00:47 »
So, I take it that Hydrogen Fuel Kits on Ebay and sites like runyourcaronwater.com are scams?I ask you this because a friend is ready to buy a conversion guide, which I am sure is a mistake, but she won't take my word for it. 
« Last Edit: 21/05/2008 02:27:58 by skeptic »
 

lyner

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #3 on: 23/05/2008 21:16:07 »
You've got it.
Get your friend to read all the threads on this forum and others about the topic.
Caveat emptor or
"A fool and his money are soon parted." Dunno who said this but it's true.
 

Offline dan dan

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #4 on: 16/07/2008 19:39:10 »
All you need to do is look to those who have been doing this for some time. newbielink:http://www.oupower.com [nonactive] is packed full of those who actually experiment with using water as a fuel. I'm currently in the middle of constructing a test cell (or two) using stainless steel wire as electrodes (similar to but not exactly the same as water4gas). Read some INDEPENDANT reviews. If you can make or buy a cell that produces 1.2-2.0 liters/minute, at a current draw of less than 20 amps (more than that may be more than what your alternator can handle), then you should see a mileage increase of about 30%. For me, that'd be going from 36 mpg (in my '98 toyota corolla) to 46.8 (36*.30=10.8  10.4+36=46.8).
The way it works...consider this. God (Yes, GOD) gave us trees. We commonly chop them down (I have nothing against this) to make firewood... to burn in a fire. That's a material, wood, being converted into thermal energy through the simple ignition by a match or lighter.
Now, wrap you minds around this one... Water, like wood, is a material. Water, like wood is made of different atams that can be broken up by chemical reactions. And water, like wood can be converted into thermal energy. To say that it would take more energy to produce the hydrogen than would be taken out of the hydrogen for kenetic energy is like saying it takes more energy to light a match than you can possibly get out of the wood. You might as well just freeze.
The energy from the battery goes to the cell, where the water is split into HHO. This travels via tubing directly into your air intake, which combines with the normal incoming air to go into your combustion chambers. there, it meets up with the gassoline (unless this is a 100% water fueled car (which is theoretically possible, and has been claimed to have been done before, but is extremely rare) in which case you need to contact me) and is ignited in combination with the gas, to provide the energy needed to send the cylinder down to move the engine to send your car shuttling down the roadway. NOTE, some of the water is acutally CONSUMED. This is not perpetual motion or energy from nowhere. The energy is from the water.
The battery is in no way your energy sorce for this. If that were the case you might as well link an electric motor directly to your drivetrain (which can also increase fuel economy (Toyota Prius)). The battery energy goes in to spliting the water, not runing the car. Therefore the water is not the median by which battery energy is transfered to the engine, but rather the battery is the trigger to extract the water energy to be transfered to the engine.
Do the research, get the facts straight, don't buy in to a scam (there are plenty out there), and contribute to the movement by experimenting.

P.S. I've been working on water fuel research for about four years. I've done several experiments. I know what I'm talking about, email me if you have any questions: dan dude 102 AT gmail.com       (no spaces, AT = @)
« Last Edit: 16/07/2008 20:07:49 by dan dan »
 

Offline dan dan

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #5 on: 16/07/2008 21:01:41 »
"Water is an OXIDE not a fuel"
True, but...
Wikipedia states that
"The simplest and best systematic name of water is hydrogen oxide. This is analogous to related compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen sulfide, and deuterium oxide (heavy water)."
Hydrogen peroxide is also an oxide, but is flamable and can be used as a fuel. There are plenty of other oxides which can be used as fuel.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #6 on: 17/07/2008 08:49:13 »
The best way i've heard of to generate hydrogen on the fly is by adding water to an aluminium-gallium alloy. The aluminium is then converted to aluminium oxide and must be recycled back to aluminium for re-use, but the gallium is just a catalyst and is not used in the reaction.

Here's an article on it: http://www.physorg.com/news98556080.html
 

Offline graham.d

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #7 on: 17/07/2008 09:30:26 »
This is all to do with energy states. Basically you can't get owt from nowt, to use an old  Yorkshire saying. To say this means... "To say that it would take more energy to produce the hydrogen than would be taken out of the hydrogen for kenetic energy is like saying it takes more energy to light a match than you can possibly get out of the wood" is a misleading straw man argument. The point is here that you put a small amount of energy in to trigger a reaction in order to release energy from the oxidation of the phosphorus. This is going a little bit up an energy barrier then skating down the other side. The temperature then ignites the wood in a similar way. All the energy you get back has had to be put in there at some time in the past in refining the pure phosphorus and making the potassium chlorate (oxygen source) that usually accompanies it. The wood has taken years of sunlight and photosynthesis to fix carbon from the atmosphere - by burning it we are just getting some of that energy back. Any understanding of thermodynamics would show that you never can get it all back either, and certainly never get more back than has been put in.

The same arguments hold for water which is at a lower energy state than free hydrogen and oxygen. When you burn hydrogen in oxygen you get water plus energy (heat). Any reversal of this will involve putting energy back in. There are complications, which can be used to obfusticate the arguments, to do with the exchange between the atomic and molecular states, but the fundamental energy argument holds nonetheless. This is modern alchemy, not physics or chemistry.
 

lyner

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #8 on: 17/07/2008 09:53:31 »
Quote
Hydrogen peroxide is also an oxide, but is flamable and can be used as a fuel.
It isn't a fuel - it's an oxidising agent because it contains readily available Oxygen. It doesn't burn in air - it produces burning when added to a fuel of some sort.
Get yer facts straight, boyo!

Water needs energy PUT INTO IT in order to separate the H and the O. If you do that using Electrical energy and then burn the H in the O again, you may just as well use the Electrical Energy to drive an electric motor.
If you separate the two in a static system and then you use the two in a mobile application then there may be some advantage ("Hydrogen powered cars" etc) but it is just plain daft to carry round a battery in a vehicle and then use it to produce your H and O. Another energy transfer involves yet more inefficiency.

Do some basic reading round of the fundamentals and get some understanding before you waste your time and money on experiments / investments.
 

Offline dan dan

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #9 on: 17/07/2008 15:40:45 »
newbielink:http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Hydrogen_Peroxide_as_Fuel [nonactive]

The last time I threw a match on some Hydrogen Peroxide, it burned.

So you can't get energy out of a raw material? Like gasoline, wood, hydrogen peroxide, gun powder, nitrus OXIDE, or water? Gasoline wouldn't work, because you'd have to drill the oil out of the earth, then refine it, not to mention all of the energy it would take to travel to get the gasoline to the stations. Everything else presents the same issue, to much work to prepare.
Water has everything present needed for a fuel, only it's held in a bundle called a molecule. This covalently bonded goodness will not burn unless seperated into hho.
Imagine with me if gassoline had the same property. You had to run about 2 volts of electricity at about 20 amps to get sufficient energy from it. After that, the energy could be fully harnessed. The electical energy put in in no way limits the ammount of energy that gassoline can deliver. It simply acts as a conditioner.
This is called ACTIVATION ENERGY.
The only way any of you are truely going to prove anything is by contribution, not theorization. I admit that modern science heavily relies on laws, and that if any of these laws is difinitively broken experimentation is useless. But, I don't see any laws, not even any thermodynamic laws, being broken here.
Go ahead, prove me wrong. Experiment using the scientific method, and see that you can not possibly get more energy from hho than what is used from the battery in electrolysis.
I have already gone through with this, and proven the opposite. Experimentation, done correctly, doesn't lie.

Quote
This is modern alchemy, not physics or chemistry.
Call it what you'd like. We water fuelers like to use save money, the environment, and money. You can call us enconomy commuters, tight wads, dutch, or even paradoxes. After all, we're burning water
 

Offline graham.d

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #10 on: 17/07/2008 16:42:31 »
People trying to turn base metals into gold thought they were on to a winner too. We now know better.
 

Offline rosy

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #11 on: 17/07/2008 17:06:16 »
dan dan...
Whilst I acknowledge it's theoretically possible that we've got thermodynamics all wrong and you can indeed get something for nothing in energy/entropy terms (and if you're going to bring god into it as above of course it could all be down to miracles or, alternatively, pixies), the thermodynamic "law" that you can't get energy for nothing is pretty well tested, and that's what you're talking about here. I'll break it down incase that helps:

1) All water molecules are equivalent. Two hydrogens, one oxygen.
2) Breaking the bonds between the hydrogens and the oxygen requires energy (and makes H2 gas and O2 gas, but that's immaterial to my argument).
3) The energy to break the bonds must come from somewhere, in a car that's got to be the car battery.
4) The maximum theoretical energy available to be released in re-forming the water from whatever it's been split into (whether that's H2 and O2 or this mythical HHO stuff) is equal to the energy which was used to split the water in the first place, since you're just doing the reverse reaction.
5) In practice, since no process is 100% efficient, there will have been some energy lost in converting from H2O to whatever and some more will be lost in converting from whatever back into water.
6) Thus, hydrogen may be a fuel but water just ain't.
7) Anyone who tells you different is one of 3 things (a) a fool, (b) a charlatan or (c) the genius who's found a way around the conservation of energy.

If it were (c) they could quite simply set up a demonstration of this remarkable principle in a sealed box somewhere and leave it running indefinitely, since the water is supposedly going from water, back to water, it will never run out of fuel. After not very long the scientific (and indeed the political) community would prostrate themselves at this person's feet and beg for the secret to save the world from global warming and provide unlimited free energy for all.

My money's on (a) or (b).
 

lyner

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #12 on: 17/07/2008 18:25:59 »
dan dan
Quote
So you can't get energy out of a raw material?
Did I say that?
"Raw Material" is a meaningless term.
Can you burn Glass, Granite, Ash? No, because it requires more energy to get them to combine with oxygen (when even possible) than the combination produces. (Combustion is a process which produces heat when a fuel combines with Oxygen, remember?)
When you 'set fire' to the peroxide, what chemical reaction did you think took place? The match could have burned much more fiercely than in air because the concentration of Oxygen was higher. What else was there around to combine with the Oxygen released from the H2O2? Possibly the container or stuff on the surface you used. This is why H2O2 can be hazardous -but it doesn't combust.
Give the Chemists a bit of credit; they sorted all this out 200 years ago.
btw, I just spotted this:
Quote
covalently bonded goodness
Give me strength - whatever is THAT?
« Last Edit: 17/07/2008 18:28:47 by sophiecentaur »
 

Offline dan dan

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #13 on: 17/07/2008 21:05:53 »
Quote
Quote

covalently bonded goodness

Give me strength - whatever is THAT?
Word choice is crutial in this business.


From here on out my words are mainly repeditive.

Quote
4) The maximum theoretical energy available to be released in re-forming the water from whatever it's been split into (whether that's H2 and O2 or this mythical HHO stuff) is equal to the energy which was used to split the water in the first place, since you're just doing the reverse reaction.
this is where you're mistaken.
If it were the reverse reaction a cell in which fire, atmaspheric air, and gassoline were acting togather to somehow split water. This is not the case. Instead:
Quote
NOTE, some of the water is acutally CONSUMED. This is not perpetual motion or energy from nowhere. The energy is from the water.
SO the reaction isn't water to gas to water, but rather water to gas to ENERGY + Water, where there is less water to compinsate for the energy. This happends almost any time in a combustion reaction. you don't gain back as much matter because some of it is lost to heat, sound, and light energy.

Quote
Can you burn Glass, Granite, Ash? No, because it requires more energy to get them to combine with oxygen (when even possible) than the combination produces.

Glass contains Silica (SiO2), soda (anything with Na), and lime (CaO). None of those eliments are perticularly combustible.

Granite contains  quartz (composed mainly of silica (SiO2)), orthoclase (KAlSi3O8) or microcline (KAlSi3O8), and mica [KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2]. A few mentionably combustible eliments found there, but it's a bit of a stretch.

Ash can contain any number of things, none of which will be worth seperating, because the item has already been combusted.


However, water contains a simple H2O. It can be easily seperated to form HHO (not H2 and O2, but also not chemically HHO, that's simply a name coined for something called 'Browns Gas'), then combusted to give off thermal energy and combine PART of that HHO back into water. Not a perfect system (there are also sound and light energy losses), but everybody knows perfection is hard to achieve. The energy provided for propulsion comes from the HHO itself, not the battery.

When I was 10, I was a pyromaniac. I spilled some hydrogen peroxide on the cement, threw light a match, and threw it on the peroxide. If I'm not mistaken, it lite on fire. If I'm correct anything that lights on fire can be used as a fuel. But I'm willing to say that I was wrong about this one. I was 10 some time ago. Besides, its totally unrelated.

Just like we use gasoline for fuel, HHO can be used as fuel. Once it is burned it turns into H2O. The fact that it is so easy to get HHO from water, and the fact that some of the water is returned gets some people confused when they consider the whole thing.
 

Offline skeptic

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #14 on: 18/07/2008 00:35:02 »
"Water is an OXIDE not a fuel"
True, but...
Hydrogen peroxide is also an oxide, but is flamable and can be used as a fuel. There are plenty of other oxides which can be used as fuel.
 

When I was 10, I was a pyromaniac. I spilled some hydrogen peroxide on the cement, threw light a match, and threw it on the peroxide. If I'm not mistaken, it lite on fire. If I'm correct anything that lights on fire can be used as a fuel. But I'm willing to say that I was wrong about this one. I was 10 some time ago. Besides, its totally unrelated.


Totally unrelated? If your argument was that there are plenty of oxides that can be used for fuel, then lighting H2O2 is totally related, if it happened.
The thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet is that Oxides are the product of combustion reactions, the ash, if you will. This is why they are not fuels. The combustion reaction is oxidation of a fuel. Most of the people on this site know this from basic chemistry, and probably assume everyone else does too.

Spent or Oxidized Hydrogen(water) is recyclable into usable fuel, but the cost is more than the net return. It's about like pushing the car to the top of a hill, so you can roll down, then pushing it up again.
 

Offline skeptic

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #15 on: 18/07/2008 02:38:37 »
dan dan, I just spotted this:
Quote
covalently bonded goodness
Give me strength - whatever is THAT?

I'm not sure, but it sounds like a TV ad "for the delicious covalently bonded goodness of Dihydrogen Monoxide. Pour yourself a glass today!"
 

lyner

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #16 on: 18/07/2008 07:53:47 »
dan dan
You may not realise it but you are, effectively, rejecting the whole of modern Chemistry by what you are implying in your statements.

Perhaps you would let us know which bits you are prepared to accept  then we could establish where it is that Science has all started to go wrong.
 

Offline LeeE

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #17 on: 18/07/2008 15:04:08 »
dan dan

Water is the ash of burnt hydrogen, and as you point out...

Quote
Ash can contain any number of things, none of which will be worth seperating, [sic] because the item has already been combusted.
 

Offline rosy

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« Reply #18 on: 18/07/2008 17:43:57 »
sophiecentaur said:

rejecting the whole of modern Chemistry

... and most of physics...

That was what I meant about being either a genius or... something else.
 

Offline dan dan

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« Reply #19 on: 18/07/2008 18:01:00 »
This really isn't that hard. I'm not rejecting any modern chemistry laws (I recieved the highest grade in HS chem. (A+), if that helps), nor any theories, nor common scence.

Houndreds of people are using the system that I'm trying to explain to you. So, just to be sure we both know why this insainly simple ideah works, let's set up a little proof.

   STATEMENT                                           REASON

1) Water contains Hydrogen and Oxygen.                Assumed
2) Water is polorized (H positive, O negitive)        Electronegativity difference in Oxygen
3) Electrolysis and other
  (way more efficient methods) can seperate           2H2O(l) → 2H2(g) + O2(g)
   water into H and O.
4) Once seperated, Hydrogen, as we know, becomes      Hydrogen reacts with oxygen to
   extremely explosive, and can be used as a fuel.    form water + energy
5) That extra energy, comming from the SPENT water,   Experimentation and results
   can provide energy to your car.
6) That hydrogen wastes less fuel and makes a much    Hydrogen, mixed with gasoline burns  
   more efficient burn, resulting in an increase in   much better than just gasoline.
   MPGs
7) NO energy is gained from anywhere, the system in   2nd law of thermodynamics. Energy can
   your car is simply made more efficient             neither be created or destroyed.
   (normal efficiency runs at about 30%).    

              
Quote
Water is the ash of burnt hydrogen, and as you point out...

Quote

Ash can contain any number of things, none of which will be worth seperating, [sic] because the item has already been combusted.
 
  



ASH: "to apply heat to a material until the material has been reduced to a mineral residue." [SEMATECH]

Residue: "any undesirable material that remains on a substrate after any process step." [ASTM F127-84 and SEMI P3-90]
                                          
newbielink:http://www.chemicool.com/definition/ash.html [nonactive]


Water is neither a substrate, nor an undesirable material, and therefore not a residue. Since it's not a residue, it's also not an ash.


Quote
The thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet is that Oxides are the product of combustion reactions, the ash, if you will. This is why they are not fuels. The combustion reaction is oxidation of a fuel. Most of the people on this site know this from basic chemistry, and probably assume everyone else does too.

We're not throwing a match on water and watching it explode (although, it seems, under certain sircumstances, water can explode: newbielink:http://www.powerlabs.org/waterarc.htm [nonactive]). Yes, water is an OXIDE, but hydrogen isn't. And if you don't think hydrogen can be used as a fuel then you need to go tell the world that they're all wrong.


Quote
Quote from: sophiecentaur on 17/07/2008 18:25:59
dan dan, I just spotted this:

Quote
covalently bonded goodness
Give me strength - whatever is THAT?


I'm not sure, but it sounds like a TV ad "for the delicious covalently bonded goodness of Dihydrogen Monoxide. Pour yourself a glass today!"
    


They get away with selling delicious covalently bonded goodness for upwords of $2 for 20oz. They'd probably be doubling profits if they marketed it as "delicious covalently bonded goodness of Dihydrogen Monoxide"

from FlashBang newbielink:http://oupower.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=20426#20426 [nonactive]
"...the reality is that even if it takes more energy to seperate water than it produces... that does not change the fact that its presence causes a more complete burn of the fossil fuel.

If they need convincing that a more complete burn results in better MPG, refer them to this months issue of Popular Mechanics where they go through some elaborate engine mods to do just that burn more of the fuel in the chamber than the current systems allow."

Also, this tech. is hitting the industry

newbielink:http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-9960833-54.html [nonactive]
 
 

Offline dan dan

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #20 on: 18/07/2008 18:02:01 »
Frankly, I'm alright with you calling me a genius.
 

Offline Bill G

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« Reply #21 on: 18/07/2008 23:00:08 »
I will try to explain what these guys with the electrolyzers are attempting to do. They are not trying to run their cars or trucks on the hydrogen. They are using the HHO gas as an accelerant. The vapor that comes off the small droplets of gasoline burns at about 4,000 feet per second. Hydrogen in air burns at about 38,000 feet per second. When you do the math, you will see that an engine running at 2000 rpm does not have enough time to completely burn the fuel (the power stroke is only one of the four strokes per rpm). The thought is if you can catch all the fuel on fire at once, rather than waiting for the flame to make its way down from the spark plug and through the gas, you will get a more efficient burn. I hope this sheds some light on what these guys are trying to do.
 

lyner

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How do water fuel cells work?
« Reply #22 on: 19/07/2008 00:33:11 »
That's the nearest thing to sense I've read on this thread. If it works, then it can only be a matter of time before we can buy one for all our cars.
I'd still love to know what "spent water" is, though.
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #23 on: 19/07/2008 11:43:35 »
Isn't it called 'spent water' because traditionally, it costs a penny to deal with?

Sorry - couldn't help taking the p.
 

Offline skeptic

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« Reply #24 on: 19/07/2008 17:13:33 »
That's the nearest thing to sense I've read on this thread. If it works, then it can only be a matter of time before we can buy one for all our cars.
I'd still love to know what "spent water" is, though.

The origin was my reference to water as spent/oxidized hydrogen. Our "genius" is apparently able to transcend the laws of language, as well as physics and chemistry.   
 

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