Hydrogen and oxygen

A handy chemical reaction for aviation

We can produce hydrogen gas by reacting metals with acid solutions. Click to see a 120kb movie of this reaction. In this reaction magnesium is placed in hydrochloric acid. Notice the bubbles of hydrogen gas that form. Hydrogen gas was used to lift giant airships. The Hindenburg disaster stopped the use of such giant airships. Hydrogen is very flammable and reacts with oxygen to form water. In this reaction a great deal of energy is released. Click to see a 120kb movie of hydrogen gas igniting in a test tube.

The Space Shuttle is partly powered by the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. The force driving the Shuttle skywards originates from the expanding hot water vapour that is been created during the chemical reaction.

Not only is this chemical reaction used as fuel but it is also used to produce electricity on board the Shuttle.