Welcome to the first post of Element of the Week! In this weekly segment, we will explore the periodic table one element at a time. This week: hydrogen!
That first element on the periodic table is hydrogen, is a gas at room temperature. Hydrogen was discovered by Henry Cavendish back in 1766. Hydrogen is a reactive non-metal, which is a type of element. Hydrogen has only 1 proton and is the most abundant element in the universe. Over 75% of our universe is made of hydrogen and almost every molecule in your body has hydrogen in it. Hydrogen is a very flammable colorless and odorless gas. The name hydrogen comes from the Greek word meaning water and generates because when it is mixed with oxygen you get H₂O, aka, water, but you probably knew that.
Hydrogen is also about 14× lighter than air which is why it was commonly used in early airships such as the blimp, but it was used at a risk because blimps used fire to heat up the gas and fire burns things and you know what is really good at getting burned, yup, that is hydrogen. Fire+hydrogen is not a good thing and that is exactly what happened to the airship the Hindenburg because there was a hydrogen leak at the top of the aircraft which was the main cause of the fall of the Hindenburg. Hydrogen burns with a clear flame and this is why it is so dangerous, because you can not see a hydrogen flame burning.
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