Magnetic Separation of water into hydrogen/oxygen

Jerry W. Decker ( (no email) )
Mon, 29 Nov 1999 01:21:59 -0600

Hi Folks!

With regard to recent discussions of water as fuel, here is a response
to an email asking what information is available on using magnets to
dissociate water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The premiere investigator into the effect of magnets to promote
dissociation of water was Professor Ehrenhaft. This ties in with Stan
Meyers claims of 'fractioning' water and Randoll Mills claims of a
'hydrino' which is based on a fractional hydrogen charge...kind of a
SUB-isotope of hydrogen.

Ehrenhaft discovered and reported fractional charges for years, in the
30's and 40's, and was ignored. See P.A.M. Dirac, "Development of the
Physicist's Conception of Nature", Sumposium on the Development of the
Physicist's Conception of Nature, ed. Jagdish Merha, D. Reidel, Boston,
1973, pp. 12-14 for a presentation of some of Ehrenhaft's results.
Within the last few years Stanford University researchers have also
positively demonstrated the existence of "fractional charge." For a
layman's description of their work, see "A Spector Haunting Physics,"
Science News, Vol. 119, January 31, 1981, pp. 68-69. Indeed, Dirac in
his referenced article points out that Millikan himself -- in his
original oildrop experiments -- reported one measurement of fractional
charge, but discounted it as probably due to error.

E2-EH1 Ehrenhaft, F.: Micromagnet

Between the 1920s & 40s, Prof. Ehrenhaft performed experiments with
anomalous magnetic phenomena: he was able to decompose water with
permanent magnets --- and the magnet lost 10% in strength over 24 hours!
E. also discovered the "Magnet Current". Complete experimental details,
&c., in 10 articles ~ $10

E3-EH2 Ehrenhaft, F.: German Articles

While experimenting with elemental particles (Au & Hg in gases),
Ehrenhaft discovered "Subelectrons" & "Micromagnets". Here are 9
articles (in German) with complete details of equipment, &c ~ $7

(if you decide to buy these, I'd appreciate a photocopy set! Then I
could post them online as FREE FILES to view and credit you!..<g>>
address is at the bottom if you might want to share copies of them)

For his "impossible" experiment, Dr. Ehrenhaft employs the simplest of
apparatus. Two shiny rods of pure Swedish iron, sealed in holes through
opposite sides of a U-shaped tube, resemble a setup familiar to
high-school students for breaking up water into hydrogen and oxygen
gases by passing electricity through it. And that is exactly what would
happen if Dr. Ehrenhaft attached electric wires from a battery to the
rods. But he does no such thing.

Instead, he uses the iron rods as pole pieces, or 'north" and "south"
ends, of a magnet - either an electromagnet or a permanent magnet.
Bubbles of gas rise through the twin columns of acidulated water, to be
collected and analyzed. As might be expected, nearly all of the gas is
hydrogen, liberated by a commonplace chemical interaction between the
iron rods and the dilute sulfuric acid, one percent by volume, in the
water. But the phenomenal part of the experiment is that oxygen also
turns up, Dr. Ehrenhaft recently told the American Physical Society.

To be specific, it is found in clearly measurable proportions ranging
from two to 12 percent of the total volume of gases. When the gases
obtained with a permanent magnet are separated, the larger proportion of
oxygen is found above the north pole of the magnet. After rigorous
precautions - including short-circuiting the magnet poles with wire, so
that the poles will be at the same electric potential - Dr. Ehrenhaft
concludes that there is only one place the oxygen can possibly come
from. And that is from water decomposed with a magnet! Without a magnet,
pure hydrogen is evolved.


New evidence that there is another world of almost infinite minuteness,
beyond the electron which only recently replaced the atom as the
smallest thing in the universe, was brought forward by Prof. Felix
Ehrenhaft of Vienna University at the meeting of the Association of
German Natural Scientists and Physicians.

Prof. Ehrenhaft's data were obtained by means of a new and highly
powerful apparatus for the ultramicroscopic examination devised by
himself, which makes possible the observation of particles far below the
limits of ordinary microscopic visibility, floating freely in a gaseous
atmosphere in a magnetic field.

He observed in this magnetized submicroscopic field the behavior of
globular bits of gaseous selenium with diameters of only one
two-hundred-fifty-thousandth of an inch. Their rate of drift, under the
influence of the magnet, indicated that the electric charges they
carried were less than the equivalent of one electron. This would
indicate, according to Prof. Ehrenhaft, that the electron is
subdivisible, and therefore, that something smaller than the electron

Ehrenhaft was a supporter of the traditional view of matter, while
Millikan held the view that matter was atomic in nature. Ehrenhaft’s
experiment used colloids and ultrascopic Brownian motion of individual
fragments of metal. He was the first to determine a value for the
electronic charge of 1.5 x 10 -19 C in 1909.

Millikan, using his famous oil drop experiment, published an initial
in 1910, giving the charge on the electron a value of 1.3 x 10-19 C.

Subsequently, Ehrenhaft showed that his results indicated fractions of
the electronic charge of 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, and 1/100 existed. At the time,
no one was able to disprove Ehrenhaft’s results or substantiate them.
However, by 1913, Millikan had perfected his oil drop experiment and had
concluded that the electronic charge had a singular value of 1.591 x 10
-19 C.

Millikan’s experimental results soon gathered the support of the most
eminent physicists of the time including Planck and Einstein, and the
atomic view of matter prevailed. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in
Physics in 1923 for his work on measuring the charge on the electron.
The best current value for the charge on the electron is e =
1.60217733 x 10 -19 C.

An examination of Millikan's own papers and notebooks reveals that he
picked and chose among his drops. That is, he exercised discrimination
with respect to which drops he would include in published accounts of
the value of e, leaving many out. Sometimes he mentioned this fact, and
sometimes he did not.

Of particular concern is the fact that in his 1913 paper, presenting the
most complete account of his measurements of the charge on the electron,
Millikan states "It is to be remarked that this is not a selected group
of drops but represents all of the drops experimented upon during 60
consecutive days."

Millikan's notebook appears to contradict this assertion. Of 189
during the period in question, only 140 are presented in the paper.

Millikan's results were contested by Felix Ehrenhaft, of the University
of Vienna, who claimed to have found "subelectrons." Moreover, Ehrenhaft
claimed that his finding was in fact confirmed by some of Millikan's own
data -- droplets that Millikan had mentioned but discounted in his
published writings.

The result was a decades-long controversy, the "Battle over the
Electron," over whether or not there existed subelectrons, or electrons
with charges of different values. This controversy makes an excellent
case study because we are fortunate, thanks to Millikan's notebooks, to
be able to see very specifically which drops he included and which he
did not.

In retrospect, we know that Millikan was "right" and Ehrenhaft "wrong."
Electrons, to the best of our present experimental and theoretical
knowledge, have a specific, discrete charge.

Those scientists and other scholars who have carefully reviewed this
case have failed to agree on whether Millikan was guilty of unethical
behavior or "bad science" in the treatment and presentation of his data.

--      Jerry Wayne Decker  -                from an Art to a Science   Voice : (214)324-8741 -  FAX : (214)324-3501             KeelyNet - PO BOX 870716        Mesquite - Republic of Texas - 75187

------------------------------------------------------------- To leave this list, email <> with the body text: leave Interact list archives and on line subscription forms are at -------------------------------------------------------------