Katelyn Tsipiras: Making Hydrogen at Home


To get an explosion big enough to send a rocket into space we need rocket fuel, made of HYDROGEN. Next time you want to travel to outer space, don’t take your rocket to a refuelling station! Instead, make your hydrogen at home with this simple experiment, using things you can find around your house.

Recommended age: 8-13 years

In this demonstration, Katelyn will step step through how to make a hydrogen cell so you can follow along from home. Please note that all children (and some adults!) should be supervised.

You will need:

  1. A clear plastic or glass container (deep enough to fit your foil, long enough to fit the batteries end-to-end, and wide enough that your plastic cutlery can sit across the top without falling in)
  2. Aluminium foil (2 pieces about the depth of your container)
  3. Fully-charged batteries (3-4 AA batteries should do the trick)
  4. Plastic cutlery (2-4 should do depending on how many batteries you have)
  5. Salt
  6. Sticky tape
  7. Water (a jug might make things easier, but this is not essential)
  8. Dishwashing liquid (optional)

Note that this activity has some fiddly parts and involves creating a (small) electric current – ALL AGES ARE WELCOME, BUT SUPERVISION IS ESSENTIAL.

You can also watch a recording of the talk here on our Facebook page (see the 'Astronomy at Home' playlist).