What is Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is a unique element of the periodic table due to its resemblance to alkali metals and the halogens.

Hydrogen is the first element of the periodic table and due to its uniqueness, it is placed separately. Let us look at some reasons because of which Hydrogen is so unique.

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Properties of Hydrogen

There are many uses of hydrogen because of its dual nature and hence this element is very popular in the chemical industry. So, let us have a look at its properties and find the reasons for its dual character:

  1. Physical properties of Hydrogen:

    The hydrogen gas is colourless, odourless and tasteless in nature. It is a combustible gas but not a supporter of combustion. It is lighter than air and insoluble in water. It has an atomic mass of 1.008 amu and an ionization enthalpy of 1312 kJ mol-1.

  2. Chemical properties of Hydrogen:

    Chemical properties are largely determined by the bond dissociation enthalpy. Hydrogen molecules form an H-H bond and this single bond has the highest bond enthalpy between two atoms of an element. Hydrogen is inert at room temperature due to its high bond enthalpy and, therefore, it is prepared at very high temperatures in an electric arc or under ultraviolet radiations. Hydrogen has an electronic configuration of 1s1, and so it can react either by losing an electron and forming an H+ ion, or gaining an electron and forming an H ion. Hydrogen shares electrons with other elements and forms a covalent bond.

Uses Of Hydrogen

Reaction of Hydrogen with Other Elements

Let us move on to the reaction of hydrogen with other elements:

  1. Reactions with the halogen family:

    Hydrogen reacts with halogens elements to give hydrogen halides.
    For example:

    \(\begin{array}{l} H_2 (g) + X_2 (g) \rightarrow 2HX (g)\end{array} \)
  2. Reaction with the oxygen molecule:

    Hydrogen reacts with the oxygen molecule to form water. This reaction is highly exothermic in nature.

    \(\begin{array}{l}2H_2 (g) + O_2 (g) \rightarrow 2H_2O\end{array} \)

    \(\begin{array}{l}Δ H = -285.9 kJ mol^{-1}\end{array} \)
  3. Reaction with metals:

    Hydrogen reacts with different metals to form their respective hydrides.

    \(\begin{array}{l} H_2 (g) + 2M (g) \rightarrow 2MH (s)\end{array} \)

    here M represents the alkali metals.

Uses of Hydrogen

Hydrogen finds a variety of application due to its dual nature. Following are some important uses of hydrogen:

  • Hydrogen is used in the synthesis of ammonia and the manufacture of nitrogenous fertilizers.
  • Hydrogenation of unsaturated vegetable oils for manufacturing vanaspati fat.
  • It is used in the manufacture of many organic compounds, for example, methanol.
  • Hydrogen chloride is a very useful chemical and is prepared from hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen can reduce many metal oxides to metals by metallurgical processes.
  • Hydrogen is used as rocket fuel in many space research activities.
  • Hydrogen fuel is being experimented within the automotive industry with hydrogen fuel cells.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


Why do we need hydrogen?

Hydrogen is a significant water element. The body’s cells remain hydrated due to water and help remove toxins from the body. Hydrogen enables the body to produce energy.

Who discovered hydrogen?

In 1671, while experimenting with iron and acids, Robert Boyle produced hydrogen gas, but it wasn’t until 1766 that, according to Jefferson Lab, Henry Cavendish acknowledged it as a separate component. The French chemist Antoine Lavoisier called the element hydrogen

How does hydrogen exist in nature?

Hydrogen happens mainly in the form of water on Earth. Each water molecule (H 2 O) includes two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen.

What is the formula for hydrogen gas?

Hydrogen with molecular formula H2 is a colourless, odourless, non-metallic, tasteless, extremely flammable diatomic gas.

What is the symbol of hydrogen gas?

The atomic symbol of hydrogen is H and its atomic number is one. Hydrogen is an atomic-numbered chemical element 1. Hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, non-metallic, tasteless, extremely flammable diatomic gas with molecular formula H2 at standard temperature and pressure.

So far we have seen the various chemical and physical properties of hydrogen. Its different uses and importance, for any further details on these topics kindly log to BYJU’S – The learning App and experience the art of learning difficult concepts in the most innovative ways.

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