Test for Hydrogen Gas


Hydrogen is the first element on the periodic table and the most common element in the universe. A test tube can be checked for the presence of hydrogen using a lighted flint.

Untestable Characteristics

  • Hydrogen is a gas with no color or smell. It has a neutral pH that does not show on litmus paper.

Testable Characteristic

  • Hydrogen is highly flammable and will explode when exposed to fire.

Test Method

  • To test for the gas, a glowing splint is placed in a test tube filled with hydrogen.

Test Result

  • The flint makes a pop sound when it comes in contact with the hydrogen. This is the sound of a miniature explosion.

Fun Fact

  • Because hydrogen has no smell, garlic was used to scent the gas in the famous hydrogen-filled zeppelin the Hindenburg. Some believe a hydrogen leak was what caused the ship to catch fire and crash, while others point to the lack of garlic smell reported by those on board as evidence that hydrogen was not the initial cause.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of David Erickson
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