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Thread: Chemistry

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Centeral Minnesota
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    Big Grin

    I know this is well... off topic, but i thought maybe at least one of the many members could help me with this question. This past week, I was expirmenting with electrolysis (seperating hydrogen and oxygen from water) and I was wondering why they (scientists) do not seperate carbon monoxide molecules. Is it possible? my guess is that it is to hard to break the chemical bonds. Thanks for your imput... and next time i'll try to stay on topic!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Post

    This probably belongs in the tailgater.

    In the case of H2O you have a very solid bond that is broken by application of electricity and results in two very combustble products (H and O2) but in the case of carbon monoxide you have the results from incomplete combustion. I think it is more energy efficient to help complete the combustion than to try to break the bond between the C and the O.

    I haven't kept up with all the pollution control devices on cars, but I think this is what happens in a catalytic converter where the platinum acts as a catalyst to allow oxygen to do this and to burn other incompletly combusted items. My GUESS is that ozone would also be likely to combine with CO to make CO2 since there is a O atom looking for a home. But someone with more knowlege of how ozone is currently used in, say, water treatment ect. would be better qualified to say if that would work.

    Unfortunately, in spite of the need for ozone in the upper atmosphere, it is consider pollution here where we dwell. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Central IL
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    Post

    Water is a rather polar molecule because of the bent shape. Electricity is nothing but a stream of electrons, which readily interact with polar molecules. Also, the bonds between hydrogen and oxygen are only single bonds whereas the bonds in a Carbon Monoxide molecule vary between triple, double, and single phases (they spend more of their time proportionally in the triple and double stages).

    I should point out that electrolosis is not an economical way to obtain either hydrogen or oxygen, and so it is not used in the industry for that purpose. Hydrogen is much more easily obtained by reacting an acid (such as muriatic acid, HCl) with a metal (such as zinc, or aluminum). The reason that "they" don't seperate carbon monoxide molecules is that there isn't any reason to do that. There are much easier ways to obtain both Carbon and Oxygen, and if you are just trying to get rid of CO, it is easier to just convert it to CO2.

    I also thought I'd point out that oxygen by itself is not combustible and that ozone is only considered pollution because it is poisonous to mammals. Mike's mostly right about how catalytic converters work, the metal just acts as a catalyst for the CO to pick up another oxygen.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    Post

    Breaking CO apart would be very energy
    intensive, and using energy tends to mean
    that someone is making even more CO and CO2
    as a byproduct of making the energy, which
    might result in a net GAIN in the net CO
    around when you are done.

    But combining and reacting things tend to
    be much more energy efficient.

    There are several fuel cell designs that, as
    a way to dispose of the carbon monoxide they
    produce, combine the carbon monoxide and water,
    using a small amount of energy to yield carbon
    dioxide and hydrogen.

    Now this might seem like a good thing, but
    carbon dioxide is something that we have far
    too much of in the lower atmosphere, so much
    that people are working on "scrubbers" to
    remove it from the air and "impound" it, with
    the intent of reversing some of the worst
    impacts of the pollution that is causing
    "global warming".

    So, there would need to be another step to
    do something with the carbon dioxide, which
    would require more energy, which (all together,
    now) would create more carbon monoxide and
    carbon dioxide.

    The three laws of thermodynamics apply here.
    They are (translated into plain English):

    1) You can't win.
    2) You can't even tie.
    3) You can't stop playing the game.

    Ain't science fun? [img]smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
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    Post

    Mmmmm chemistry...

    CO is a very strong molecule because it has a triple bond between the carbon and oxygen (it's not really that simple but...). You can get the bond to break but it requires a bunch of energy. You can burn CO but it isn't easy.

    Ozone is a different story. The real harm it causes is the smoggy nastiness in the lower atmosphere. It reacts with bunchs of things to form all kinds of bad stuff in the air. Which I why I think it funny these air "purifiers" that cost 500 bucks are just charged plate collectors that also make ozone, in your house. That's the tangy taste these thing make in the air. You are tasting ozone. Also after thunderstorms too.

    Jim. Science is fun! If you come close enough to a tie you will at least die a very rich man.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Consumer Reports latest issue addresses the ozone issue in these "wonder" air purifiers. In short they are expensive, do a terrible job cleaning air, and emit possibly harmful levels of ozone.

    Sharper Image had sued Consumer Reports for their artcle stating their air cleaner was ineffective. They dropped their suit and paid Consumer Reports $525,000 (court ordered) for costs and fees.

    They still advertize (deceptivly) thier air "cleaners" widely.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Hookstown PA USA
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    Post

    Oh that's good. I hate those grifters. Sharper image my bum!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    I had an Alpine air purifier. It made ozone and had a actual filter. I was amazed at how much stuff fell out of the air during the first day. For the first week we had to dust daily. My wife was a Rainbow vaccum dealer and she had earned a free one that we used at home. We set the Rainbow up to wash the air along with the Alpine and got to a point we no longer had to dust. The Apline alone helped greatly with my allergies. By using both products I quit taking sinus meds while at home. Never did like the look of the shaper image one as it has no fan or actual filter.

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