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Ignition Propensity of Hydrogen in the Presence of Metal Surfaces.



Chih-Jen Sung, James S. T'ien, Kyle Brady


Hydrogen as an energy carrier has received much attention in recent years as a result of a confluence of economic, environmental, and political pressures on the continued use of fossil fuels. The benefits of using hydrogen fuel over fossil fuel products are numerous and well known, most prominently (but not limited to) improved air quality. Many studies on this subject have been published addressing the public health concerns surrounding fossil fuel use, concluding almost universally that particulates and other components of fossil fuels in the air contribute to morbidity and mortality in humans. In addition to human health problems, there is the growing concern that continued widespread use of carbon-based fuels may contribute to world-wide climate change. Hydrogen, depending upon its source, can reduce or eliminate many of these problems as its combustion in an engine or use in a fuel cell emits no carbon emissions in gaseous or particulate form, and can be produced free of sulfur to avoid SOx emissions causing acid rain. Despite these apparent benefits, hydrogen fuel is still perceived as a safety hazard, and past disasters attributed to hydrogen flammability have only strengthened the common perception of hydrogen as a dangerous fuel. It has therefore been the goal of this study to help determine potential safety hazards associated with hydrogen fuel, specifically considering a catalytic ignition source.
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - 11-951
Report Number


fossil fuel, hydrogen fuel, metal surfaces


Sung, C. , T'ien, J. and Brady, K. (2011), Ignition Propensity of Hydrogen in the Presence of Metal Surfaces., Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created November 22, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017