Pure hydrogen gas is much lighter or less dense than air. It filled the great airships of the early 20th century to keep them...Read More >>Pure hydrogen gas is much lighter or less dense than air. It filled the great airships of the early 20th century to keep them aloft. However hydrogen also burns very easily. After several disasters where airships caught fire, hydrogen was no longer used. Here the German airship Hindenburg was destroyed by fire at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey, USA in 1937. Today, airships use another light gas, helium, which does not burn.Hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, highly combustible gas. The most abundant element in the Universe, it forms the bulk of most stars. On Earth, most hydrogen (chemical symbol H) is joined to oxygen (O) to form water (H2O). It also occurs in organic compounds such as petroleum, ammonia and methane. Hydrogen is the simplest and lightest chemical element because each of its atoms has only two subatomic particles, one proton and one electron. Hydrogen was first discovered in 1766, when it was known as "flammable air". In 1781 it was discovered that the gas produced water when burned, for which it was given the name hydrogen (from the Greek hydro, meaning water, and genes, creator).
Hydrocarbons and carbohydrates
Hydrogen joins with carbon to form the substances known as hydrocarbons. Many of the fuel gases obtained from natural gas or crude oil, such as propane and butane, are hydrocarbons. Hydrogen also joins with carbon and oxygen to form carbohydrates. Starches in foods like potatoes and rice, and sugars in cane or beet, are rich in carbohydrates.
Hydrogen is the lightest element and the most abundant chemical substance in the Universe, making up about 75% of normal matter, and 90% of the total number of atoms.
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