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If I cannot, or do not want to use electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen, is it a viable alternative to react vinegar (ethanoic acid) and iron (or steel, or copper) to form iron(II) or copper acetate? (Assume steel wool or copper wires.)

If I tried to fill a balloon with the produced gas (assuming no leaks apart from balloon), would the hydrogen leak out of the balloon faster than it would be produced?

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  • $\begingroup$ No. Iron reacts too slowly to be an option. If you really wish going with acetic acid and be moderately cheap, look for aluminium or magnesium parts or maybe even granules. Don't go with powder unless you know what you are doing, though. $\endgroup$ – permeakra Apr 3 '16 at 9:32
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Acetic acid will probably react to slow. If you want to produce hydrogen in the litre scale I would suggest to use diluted hydrochloric acid and zinc flakes or iron. But be aware that it can be difficult to control the reaction. In a laboratory you could use a Kipp's apparatus for this.

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