Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2010 12:55:29

Author: William Beaty

Subject: H2 bangs and soap solution


On Thu, 12 Aug 2010, David Maiullo wrote:

> Anyone else ever have a spontaneous explosion of H or H & O balloons?

I've never dared mess with this myself, but hobbyists report that it
happens all the time: the slightest electrostatic discharge is extremely
dangerous. The (partial?) cure is soapy water inside so it coats rather
than beading up. But I've also heard about one spontaneous explosion
inside a closed acrylic electrolysis cell.

I first heard about this around 1992 from a story of crazed teenagers
setting off a packed row of five (seven?) garbage bags of home made H2+air
on Halloween night. They triggered them via high voltage and radio
control from a cheap RC toy car. They used soapy water to avoid getting
killed. One part of the story was odd: they said they only had to spark
the end bag, then all of them exploded.

Isn't UV light supposed to trigger explosions in hydrogen+chlorine mixtures?

(((((((((((((((((( ( ( ( ( (O) ) ) ) ) )))))))))))))))))))
William J. Beaty
beaty, chem washington edu Research Engineer
billb, amasci com UW Chem Dept, Bagley Hall RM74
206-543-6195 Box 351700, Seattle, WA 98195-1700