Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Electrolytic Candle

Electrolysis--driven Hydrogen Candle
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
  [vote for,

This is a candle substitute that's plugged in (or batterry powered).

The user fills the reservoir with water. The electricity (through a rectifier if plugged in) splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen at a safe rate, and the mixture is burned at the top of the candle.

The candle will automatically cut off power if something whose conductivity is different than water has been placed in it (electrolyzing salt-water and burning the resulting hydrogen and chlorine would produce hydrogen chloride, which you do NOT want to breathe).

Admittedly, this is more of a novelty product, but it won't consume any oxygen in the room, won't have any toxic fumes, and will double as a humidifier!

cowtamer, Feb 12 2007


       The only downside I can see is that a hydrogen flame is non-luminous, verging on invisibility ... I like the idea though, and I may just bake one of these next weekend and try it out.
batou, Feb 12 2007

       Hmm...perhaps this (like the FlameBulb idea I posted) needs a piece of metal to heat up. Let me know how it works if you do bake it!
cowtamer, Feb 12 2007

       This is the same as the flamebulb, as far as I can tell. You would need some sort of electrolyte or you will get no electrolysis. I like the reclaiming the water part - although I guess that was in Flame Bulb. Even if it were just a sputtering light, enough of these ought to get the room lit up.   

       Why don't you merge the Flame Bulb into this and localize the discussion of this concept, [cowtamer]?
bungston, Feb 12 2007

       Dissolve a bit of egg shell in some vinegar, dry this onto a bit of cotton cloth and role this up to look like a wick Pass the gas through it and light it. Once it has burned for a bit you have a gas mantel. That will increase its brightness.
j paul, Jun 10 2011

       Or use a piece of chalk (or limestone).
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 10 2011

       Sounds like calcium is the active ingredient? So for Halloween a piece of bone (maybe part of a finger after a charcoal type process) would be quite spooky, I think.
Ling, Jun 11 2011

       I think so. However, "limelights" use calcium oxide (whereas chalk and limestone are calcium carbonate), and gas mantles use various exotic metal salts.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 11 2011

       At white heat, calcium carbonate is converted to calcium oxide.
spidermother, Jun 11 2011

       AKA burnt or quick-lime. There's an interesting cycle with limestone to quick-lime (heat) to slaked-lime (water) back to limestone (CO2), and application to construction. The process was either invented or stolen by the Romans - in any case, they used it. The French are not responsible for this invention.
Ling, Jun 12 2011

       The Aztecs also burned lime. One assumes they discovered the technology independently.
spidermother, Jun 12 2011

       Actually, no- they, like the Romans, were sold the technology by the Ferengi.   

       There's a lot of profit to be made by "selling" very basic technology to primitive cultures, as in, "If we show you how to make better pots, can we take that mountain over there ?". The advantage of selling knowledge over goods is that knowledge is easy to transport, compared to glass beads, blankets, or widescreen plasma TVs.
8th of 7, Jun 12 2011

       Bah! That old 'pretend everything was invented by someone Ferengi' line!
spidermother, Jun 12 2011

       //knowledge is easy to transport// Unfortunately, it's also easy to reproduce. You can sell a million beads, but how many times can you sell the patent on a bead manufacturing process? Even assuming your customers respect patents?   

       The beads/natives technique works even better like this: "In exchange for these (smallpox infected) blankets can we have that land over there?" Back then, no one dreamed of virus- infected information, but nowadays of course, we have the capability.
mouseposture, Jun 12 2011

       //At white heat, calcium carbonate is converted to calcium oxide.//   

       Ah! Yes, of course - thanks.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 12 2011

       It works because you can" sell" the same technology several times on the same planet to geographically-separated groups, in return for goods that the owners don't even know the 'value' of.   

       Example: give a native tribe some ceramic pots, and say 'We'll show you how to make your own if you bring us all the little bits of soft yellow metal you find in the streams round here's.
8th of 7, Jun 12 2011

       It's even possible to sell information already held by the other party, vis. "We will sell you continuing possession of the structural information contained in the current arrangement of your body parts in exchange for still more of that soft yellow stuff".
spidermother, Jun 12 2011

       //bring us all the little bits of soft yellow metal//   

       [8th] you'd be perfect in the Klaus Kinski role in _Aguirre, the Wrath of God_
mouseposture, Jun 12 2011

       Sparing you all my usual rant against frivolous use of hydrogen, you *could* install a small blower and turn this into a hydrogen plasma candle. It would shed a loverly violet glow, lending a lovely ambience to a romantic hideaway; that is, until it exploded because it was hecho en Mexico out of seven cents' worth of plastic and a length of brittle filament.
Alterother, Jun 14 2011


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