I'm looking into building a clean Bunsen-style burner (or rocket engine - I haven't decided yet). I will be using electrolysis to extract hydrogen and oxygen from water, but the apparatus I am thinking about building will render gaseous hydrogen and gaseous oxygen, but in a mixture. Preferably I would store them compressed, and not have spontaneous combustion.

My question is this:

Will gaseous hydrogen and gaseous oxygen react with each other if compressed in the same chamber?
If so, how much pressure is required before it blows up?

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    $\begingroup$ As far as I know they need a spark to blow. However, such a spark can probably easily be created by electrostatics. I probably wouldn’t risk it if I could avoid it. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ But the pressure alone wouldn't do it? $\endgroup$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ When you mix hydrogen and oxygen you have a bomb. Don't do it. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @MaxW ,so questions involving dangerous experiments are allowed on SE? Shouldn't you stop promoting such questions? Like a flag for "dangerous experiment"? (Just an opinion.) $\endgroup$
    – Aditya Dev
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ @AdityaDev - Not really a problem. After his "experiment," we'll give Daniel a new nickname - "One eyed lefty." $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


The study Explosion Characteristics of Hydrogen-Air and Hydrogen-Oxygen Mixtures at Elevated Pressures includes data for pressures up to 200 bar.

Data were collected for Hydrogen-Oxygen mixtures at both 20 and 80 degrees C at pressures ranging from 1 to 200 bar. A high voltage spark was still needed to cause explosion.

Storing a compressed mixture of hydrogen and oxygen still seems extremely unsafe to me. I definitely wouldn't do it.


I built something similar to use as oxy /hydrogen welding and cutting. Basically I generated the gasses over water by electrolysis using graphite electrodes and a solar panel. The oxygen and hydrogen were collected separately in tanks made from plastic buckets, in, and separated by, a water bath. The gasses were led out via taps in the bottom of each bucket and only came in contact with each other within a welding handpiece. Pressure was regulated by putting bricks on top of the open bottomed containment tanks and varying the water level above them. I only ever used pressures up to about 20 psi without any problem.

I wouldn't think that this would be acceptable on a worksite though!!!!

Have fun!


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