Power from Water – How to produce oxygen and hydrogen on the Moon
In this set of three activities, students will learn about electrochemistry.
In the first activity, they will build a voltaic pile – a simple battery. This invention marked the beginning of electrochemistry.
Students will then study electrolysis. Electrolysis uses electric current to split water into its components: hydrogen and oxygen. These products can be used as propellants for spacecraft and/or to provide oxygen to support a crew.
In the last activity, students examine and use a fuel cell.
Lesson: 2 hours
In this activity, students will construct a voltaic pile – a simple battery – from metal plates, dishcloth and vinegar. A voltaic pile uses a spontaneous chemical reaction to create electricity.
In this activity, students will build an electrolyser: a device that introduces an electric current into a liquid using two electrodes. They will use the device for water electrolysis and discover that it is possible to split water into its components: oxygen and hydrogen.
In this activity, students will use the products of water electrolysis (H2 and O2) in a fuel cell. They will investigate how fuel cells produce electricity and heat from a chemical reaction. Students will consider the possibilities and limitations of fuel cells for Moon exploration.
Did you know?
The station’s football-field-sized solar arrays are the power source. A similar system could be used on the Moon.
The ISS orbiting Earth
Brief description: In this resource, pupils will spend a day recording approximately how much water they use for different activities. This is followed by an