# Electrolysis of water using different kind of electrode and electrolyte safest as possible for splitting demonstration

I am planning to electrolyze water for an experiment. However, I have limited resources and want to do it as safely as possible

The resources that I have:

• $$\pu{12 V}$$ DC battery
• Graphite (in the form of a pencil lead)
• Stainless Steel
• Sodium Hydroxide ($$\ce{NaOH}$$)
• Sodium Sulfate ($$\ce{Na2SO4}$$)
• What kind of battery and pencil leads? A 12V car battery might burn through your skinny 0.5-0.7mm pencil leads (your "graphite electrodes") rather quickly if your salt solution is conductive enough and/or if the leads are sufficiently close to each other. Not to mention that $\ce{2H2O(\ell) \to 2H2(g) + O2(g)}$ doesn't require that much overpotential anyway... Apr 10 at 8:41
• 12V source would cause a violent rate of electrolysis, if the source is hard, or the source can be damaged, if it is a soft voltage source without protection. Eventually both. Unless other measures are applied, consider serial resistor $R[\Omega] \approx \frac{10 [V]}{I [A]}$, where I is intended current, safe for both electrolysis and the power source. Apr 10 at 15:03
Both sodium hydroxide and sulfate will yield same gases on the electrodes but sulfate solution will be neutral $$\mathrm{p}H$$ so you would want to stick with that. For the electrodes safest option is pure graphite because stainless steel anode will probably produce hexavalent chromium which is not very good.