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Chemistry LibreTexts

10: Hydrogen

  • Page ID
    29095
  • In 1671, Robert Boyle discovered and described the reaction between iron filings and dilute acids, which resulted in the production of hydrogen gas. In 1766-81, Henry Cavendish was the first to recognize that hydrogen gas was a discrete substance, and that it produced water when burned. He named it "flammable air". In 1783, Antoine Lavoisier gave the element the name hydrogen (from the Greek υδρο- hydro meaning "water" and -γενης genes meaning "creator") when he and Pierre-Simon Laplace reproduced Cavendish's finding that water was produced when hydrogen was burned. Hydrogen was liquefied for the first time by James Dewar in 1898 by using regenerative cooling and his invention, the vacuum flask. He produced solid hydrogen the next year. Deuterium was discovered in December 1931 by Harold Urey, and tritium was prepared in 1934 by Ernest Rutherford, Mark Oliphant, and Paul Harteck. Heavy water, which consists of deuterium in the place of regular hydrogen, was discovered by Urey's group in 1932.