Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, 2011, Vol. 84, No. 1, pp. 36−39.
Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2011.
Original Russian Text © S.P. Yatsenko, V.M. Skachkov, V.G. Shevchenko, 2011, published in Zhurnal Prikladnoi Khimii, 2011, Vol. 84, No. 1, pp. 35−38.
INORGANIC SYNTHESIS AND INDUSTRIAL
Production of Hydrogen by Decomposition of Water
with Activated Aluminum
S. P. Yatsenko, V. M. Skachkov, and V. G. Shevchenko
Institute of Solid State Chemistry, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia
Received March 11, 2010
Abstract—Methods for production of hydrogen by decomposition of water with activated aluminum were studied.
The role of an activator was played by gallium and its alloys and by a cementation coating of aluminum with gallium
from a sodium-gallate solution. The effect of the temperature at which the reaction is started was considered. An
apparatus design for production of hydrogen by the method was developed.
Production of hydrogen by decomposition of water
with activated aluminum is close in cost to the well-
developed electrolysis of aqueous solutions and twice
exceed in this regard the cracking of hydrocarbons
. A certain decrease in the hydrogen overvoltage in
the electrolytic method is achieved by modiﬁ cation of
a material having a lower hydrogen overvoltage ηH .
The quality of hydrogen produced by decomposition
of water by electrolysis or activated aluminum is
incomparable with that of hydrogen yielded by cracking,
and the possibility of avoiding use of a current source
for electrochemical decomposition of water provides
a number of advantages to the method with activated
Gallium and its liquid alloys preclude formation
of a protective oxide ﬁ lm on aluminum and its alloys.
Chemically active aluminum reacts with water to give
hydrogen and aluminum hydroxide. It is known that
mercury and amalgams interact with aluminum in the
same way, but, in contrast to gallium, mercury is a high-
ly toxic substance. When liquid gallium is brought in
contact with a polycrystalline aluminum sample, the gal-
lium alloy mostly interacts with zones adjacent to grain
boundaries. Aluminum from these grains is dissolved in
gallium and interacts with water. Grains become sepa-
rated by liquid interlayers and the sample sharply in-
creases its surface area and eventually disintegrates [3,
4]. Use of gallium-contaminated aluminum oxide (met-
allurgical alumina commonly contains ≤5 × 10
for production of raw aluminum and even an increase
in the gallium content of aluminum up to 1.0% hardly
exert any adverse inﬂ uence on mechanical properties of
articles fabricated from aluminum alloys. The positive
role of gallium as a technological additive to alloys, e.g.,
AMg6, consists in that it diminishes their oxidability
and improves the surface quality of ingots via formation
of a strong and elastic oxide ﬁ lm. At a Ga content of
0.3–0.5%, the number and height of liquation buildups
substantially decrease. The corrosion loss of the AMg6
alloy in the corrosive atmosphere of marine tropics was
approximately the same at gallium contents of 0.009 to
1.0%, i.e., up to 1.0% gallium does not exert any pro-
nounced inﬂ uence on the overall corrosion resistance of
articles. Gallium admixtures in amounts of up to 0.1%
have no adverse effect on technological, mechanical,
and corrosion properties of the AMg6 and AMg2 alloys.
At a gallium content of 0.04–0.06%, the plasticity of in-
gots increases by 20–40%.
We studied the interaction of gallium with aluminum