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Uses of Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a chemical element with the atomic number 1. It is usually placed in the top left corner of the periodic table. Many people ask me ‘what are some of the common uses of hydrogen’? This post will answer that question. Note that I also gave some of the basic uses of hydrogen in the post ‘Who Discovered Hydrogen‘.

Uses of Hydrogen

  • Used to process (‘upgrade’) fossil fuels.
  • Used to produce ammonia- used in common household cleaning products.
  • Hydrogen is used as a hydrogenating agent to produce methanol and convert unhealthy unsaturated fats and oils to saturated fats and oils.
  • The triple point of hydrogen (the temperature where all 3 phases- gas, solid and liquid- are in equilibrium) can be used to calibrate some thermometers.
  • Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, is produced in nuclear reactions. It can be used to make hydrogen bombs and acts as a radiation source in luminous paints. In the biosciences, tritium is sometimes used as an isotopic label.
  • Hydrogen (either used on its own or combined with nitrogen) is used in many manufacturing plants to determine whether there are any leaks. It is also used to detect leaks in food packages.
  • Hydrogen is used as a rotor coolant in electrical generators.
  • Hydrogen gas is used as a shielding gas in atomic hydrogen welding (AHW).
  • Used in the production of hydrochloric acid- used widely in chemical industries.
  • Hydrogen gas is used to reduce many metallic ores.
  • Can be used to make water.

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