It stands for delta hydrogen, a chemical compound found in water, carbon dioxide or hydrogen and oxygen (all three basic elements) that is formed from the reaction between iron and oxygen (or of iron and carbon).
Why would anyone use this? Because the hydrogen in the reaction would have a very high heat capacity and so would generate a lot of heat in a short period of time.
By a similar token, because the iron and carbon in the reaction would be relatively inert and so could be stored for longer periods of time, they would also be pretty darn inert!
We all know that you can find very high temperature fuels from other elements in the periodic table which you can oxidize. What you may not know is the reason they are considered inert elements is that these elements don’t have very many other uses like being used to make gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, paints, glass, plastics and other industrial applications… The problem with most of these other fuels is oxidation… the compounds that react with the chemical element have a high melting point but the reaction has a very high temperature of at least 10 000°C (22 000° Fahrenheit)… that’s an amazing amount of heat!
You will notice that oxygen in the reaction is much softer, more of a gel and requires a much higher temperature (2 000°C (3 000°F) or more)!
The good news is that we actually have the capability to make a very clean industrial chemical with just this reaction…
There are two steps in this reaction which are very important to get right.
The first step (and what matters) is to remove the water molecules from the carbon dioxide molecule.
This is actually a much easier reaction than it sounds…
Here’s the simple version…
You remove the water molecules from each (carbon dioxide + oxygen) molecule by heating each one in a microwave.
This microwave causes the water molecules to separate from each other.
What happens to the hydrogen/oxygen bond?
Hydrogen and oxygen bonded together are called “hydrogen bonds” because they are stronger than the oxygen bond.
In most compounds you’ll see a strong hydrogen bond between two carbon atoms or two oxygen atoms or two oxygen molecules…
But not here.
This is because the oxygen atom is on a different chain than the carbon or the carbon and oxygen bonds.
Which makes this very important step much more challenging!
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