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writing a survival novel where a guy needs to survive and needs to make water to do so. It is on another planet and he access to sci-fi type manufacturing machines that can make most tings.

He has a supply of O2 and a supply of H2, lets assume at a reasonable temperature.

My understanding is that you mix the two together (preferrably two to one) and ignite it and this produces water in a sort of chain reaction.

Assuming this is done in an inclosed space, does all the H2 and O2 turn into water? Is the chamber left in a vacuum state or close to it after? There is a lot of heat involved in this process I believe, does that mean the water comes out in the form of steam, or does something about this process end up cooling it into water droplets?

I figure I need to get the answers to some of these questions to be able go about creating a believable scenario. BTW, please forgive me ahead of time, my chemistry knowledge is basically non-existent, I got what little I know here from googling.


As EdV mentioned in the comments, not premixing the gasses and them suppying them to an intense flame, will get the desired results without any unwanted explosions. The result will be steam and a lot of heat.

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    $\begingroup$ The fuel cell might be the way to go, as he'd get water and electricity in the process... $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2021 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddMinehardt Thanks, but far too complicated for my reader base. I need a much simpler technique. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2021 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ You would burn the two using a ‘glassblower’s’ torch, so the hydrogen and oxygen gases are not pre-mixed and you cannot have an explosion. You get steam and heat and then condense the steam to liquid water. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Nov 10, 2021 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ I didn't mean anything by it, was just wondering what should be done with the question and any potential answer. Given that I might not be unqualified to even no what the correct answer is. Should I just then ignore this question further and leave it 'unanswered'? Should I 'transfer ownership' of the question? (not even sure that's a thing). $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2021 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ @user2765977 It was flagged as such and I almost always defer to the members of the community here. I have undeleted your answer; I encourage you to accept your answer (as you may know, that is a thing) and please don't read anything into it. We welcome you and your presence here so don't be put off. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2021 at 17:03

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As EdV mentioned in the comments, not premixing the gasses and them suppying them to an intense flame, will get the desired results without any unwanted explosions. The result will be steam and a lot of heat.

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  • $\begingroup$ Might as well use the steam to run a steam engine or water pump or grain mill, etc. Lots of possibilities. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Nov 10, 2021 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ Might be useful in your current or future writing: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_hydrogen_technologies. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Nov 12, 2021 at 2:40

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