Professor Charles’ first balloon had taken four days to
fill with hydrogen gas with his rather simple equipment. . But soon more
effective facilities was constructed. The picture shows how a larger
hydrogen producing plant could be arranged.
The hydrogen gas is made by separating hydrogen from oxygen in water. This
is achieved by filling airtight sealed casks with water (H2O) diluted
with sulphuric acid (H2SO4) and with iron filings (Fe) added. The chemical
reaction will be as follows:
H2SO4 + 2H2O > 2H3O+
2H3O+ + Fe > Fe2+ + H2 + 2H2O
The hydrogen gas is now separated and can be led away. On the picture
below we see such casks, AA, in which iron and water is put
together and, when all is ready for the process, sulphur acid is poured
through the funnels that almost reaches the bottom of the casks. The gas
streams from the pipes at the top of the casks to a manifold pipe, BB.
From this the gas is lead through a tight hose, C, to the
purification apparatus, D where it passes a water filter where the
oxygen particles that still are left in the gas absorbs completely. The
water level in this device can be monitored by the glass pipe, b.
a is a waste pipe where the oxygenated water is lead away. c
is a pressure gauge that measures the gas pressure inside the apparatus.
From the purification apparatus the gas passes the hose E into the
cylinder F, where it comes in connection with calcium hydroxide and
loses the small amounts of carbon dioxide that is left. After this
procedure the gas passes further one apparatus containing a hygrometer,
H, a thermometer, d, to control dryness and temperature and is
now ready to be lead into the balloon.