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Author Topic: Can a centrifuge split steam into a combustible mix of hydrogen and oxygen?  (Read 1111 times)

Offline Richard777

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Once upon a time I managed (unintentionally) to use a primitive centrifuge to spin a jet of steam.

The spinning steam jet separated (or more likely partially separated) into hydrogen and oxygen components.

A blue flame appeared at the confluence of gasses.

I do believe that steam had partial combustion.

Any ideas?
« Last Edit: 21/04/2016 09:15:14 by chris »


 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: is this steam combustion?
« Reply #1 on: 21/04/2016 03:26:50 »
A highly unlikely scenario...

You can't just separate the oxygen from hydrogen in water by spinning it hard (even if it's really hard), and if somehow you did manage to separate the water vapor into hydrogen and oxygen, it would have taken more energy than was produced by the "combustion" of the resulting gases.

There must be some other explanation of your observations.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: is this steam combustion?
« Reply #2 on: 21/04/2016 04:34:25 »

A blue flame appeared at the confluence of gasses.
Can you describe the set up and how the confluence of gasses occurred?
I agree with ChiralSPO that plain centrifuge would be unlikely to separate the gasses, but would be interested to see what you did + speeds etc.
 

Offline chris

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If you did do this it wouldn't burn with a blue flame, it would explode because the mix would be a stoichiometric one (ideal ratios of hydrogen and oxygen for complete reaction) and this would detonate energetically (and loudly). I have a feeling that hydrogen and oxygen mixes don't tend to turn blue either. I think blue (like gas flames) is the C-O bond or C-H bond. Are you sure that you weren't making syngas (CO / H2 mix) by passing steam over hot coal? That would burn with the characteristics that you describe.
 

Offline Arthur Geddes

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A *primitive* centrifuge used to spin a *jet* of steam?  Is this a very long primitive centrifuge?
How do you spin a *jet* of steam with a centrifuge?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Hypothetically it could be done.
You would need to work under conditions where the hydrogen and oxygen were split by thermolysis- say 3000 C.
And then you would need a very good centrifuge. So the materials of construction would need to be very strong even at a temperature where steel boils.
You didn't do that by accident.

A very fast moving object might pick up enough static electricity to cause a corona discharhe that would glow bule.
 

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