How many grams of hydrogen are in 1 gram of water?

Water (H2O) is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Since hydrogen has an atomic mass of 1.008 g/mol, and oxygen has an atomic mass of 15.999 g/mol, we can calculate the mass composition of water as follows:

1 mole of H2O contains:

  • 2 moles of H (2 atoms x 1.008 g/mol = 2.016 g)
  • 1 mole of O (1 atom x 15.999 g/mol = 15.999 g)

So the total molar mass of 1 mole of H2O is:

2.016 g (for H) + 15.999 g (for O) = 18.015 g

Expressed as a percentage:

  • Hydrogen: 2.016 g / 18.015 g x 100 = 11.19%
  • Oxygen: 15.999 g / 18.015 g x 100 = 88.81%

Therefore, the mass percentage of hydrogen in water is 11.19%.

Calculating Grams of Hydrogen in 1 Gram of Water

Since we know hydrogen accounts for 11.19% of the mass of water, we can calculate the grams of hydrogen in 1 gram of water as follows:

1 gram H2O x 0.1119 = 0.1119 grams hydrogen

So for every 1 gram of water, there are 0.1119 grams of hydrogen.

Showing the Calculation

Let’s walk through the calculation step-by-step:

  1. 1 gram of water contains 2 hydrogen atoms (H2)
  2. Mass of 1 hydrogen atom = 1.008 g/mol
  3. So mass of 2 hydrogen atoms = 2 x 1.008 g/mol = 2.016 g/mol
  4. Total molar mass of water (H2O) = 2.016 g (for 2 H atoms) + 15.999 g (for 1 O atom) = 18.015 g/mol
  5. Mass of hydrogen (2.016 g) divided by total molar mass of water (18.015 g) = 0.1119
  6. This means hydrogen accounts for 11.19% of the mass of water
  7. For 1 gram of water, the mass of hydrogen is 1 gram x 0.1119 = 0.1119 grams

Therefore, by calculating the mass percentages based on molecular weights, we determine there are 0.1119 grams of hydrogen in 1 gram of water.

Why This Calculation Works

This calculation relies on the mass relationships between atoms that are defined by their atomic mass (measured in atomic mass units or g/mol). Because we know the atomic mass of hydrogen and oxygen, we can calculate their proportional masses in the water molecule.

Some key points that make this calculation valid:

  • The atomic mass of an element is constant and applies to a single atom of that element.
  • Water always consists of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom.
  • The mass ratio between hydrogen and oxygen in water is always the same.
  • By using molar mass instead of atomic mass units, the values can be scaled up proportionally from a single molecule to grams of substance.

Therefore, by applying the constant atomic mass values to the molecular formula of water, the mass relationships can be derived mathematically and give an accurate result.

Applications and Examples

Knowing the mass percentage of hydrogen in water is useful for many applications across chemistry, physics, biology and environmental sciences. Here are a few examples of when you may need to use this calculation or data:

  • Determining the composition of water sources: The hydrogen level can indicate purity or if water contains dissolved compounds.
  • Balancing chemical equations involving water: Use the mass percentages to relate the amounts of hydrogen and oxygen in chemical reactions.
  • Calculating the energy content of fuels: The heat released by burning hydrogen fuels can be estimated based on the hydrogen content.
  • Designing processes involving electrolysis of water: Efficiency and hydrogen yields depend directly on the hydrogen contained in water.
  • Estimating hydrogen production from bioreactors: Many biological processes generate hydrogen through metabolism of organic matter.

In all cases, the fundamental calculation remains the same. By applying the atomic mass ratios, the mass composition of water can be determined.

Limitations and Considerations

While extremely accurate for pure water under standard conditions, there are some limitations to consider when applying this calculation:

  • The calculation assumes 100% pure H2O. Any dissolved compounds or contaminants would alter the mass percentages.
  • The calculation is based on the atomic mass of hydrogen on the periodic table. Different hydrogen isotopes would have slightly different masses.
  • Water can exist as ice, liquid and vapor. Although the chemical formula remains H2O, the density and mass relationships change between states.
  • Extreme temperature and pressure conditions would affect the behavior of the water molecules and atomic masses.
  • Quantum effects at the molecular scale may cause slight deviations from the expected mass ratios.

While these limitations exist, they have negligible influence under normal temperature and pressure conditions for typical water sources. The calculation remains an excellent estimation in most practical cases.

Visualizing the Composition of Water

The mass composition of water can be visualized by depicting the relative proportions of hydrogen and oxygen:

Element Atomic Mass (g/mol) Number of Atoms Mass (g) Percentage
Hydrogen (H) 1.008 2 2.016 11.19%
Oxygen (O) 15.999 1 15.999 88.81%
Total mass 18.015 g/mol

This table summarizes the underlying data used in the calculation. We can see:

  • Hydrogen accounts for 2.016 g out of 18.015 g total.
  • This equates to 11.19% of the mass.
  • Oxygen makes up the remaining 88.81% at 15.999 g.

Visually representing the composition like this provides an at-a-glance view of the mass relationships in water.

Practical Examples and Calculations

Let’s work through some practical examples using the grams of hydrogen in water calculation:

Example 1

If a container holds 2.5 liters of water, how many grams of hydrogen does it contain?


  • 2.5 liters of water = 2500 grams (density is 1 g/mL)
  • From previous calculation, 1 gram H2O contains 0.1119 g hydrogen
  • So 2500 grams H2O contains 0.1119 x 2500 = 279.75 grams hydrogen

Example 2

A bioreactor digests organic waste and produces 35 liters/day of hydrogen gas. How many grams of hydrogen is produced if collecting gas for 1 week?


  • 35 liters/day x 7 days = 245 liters hydrogen gas
  • Using density of hydrogen gas (0.089 g/L), 245 L contains 21.805 g
  • So over 1 week, bioreactor produces 21.805 grams hydrogen

Example 3

An industrial electrolyzer passes a 500 amp electrical current through water for 1 hour. If the efficiency is 65%, how many grams of hydrogen are produced?


  • 500 amps x 1 hour = 500 amp-hours of charge passed
  • With 100% efficiency, 1 amp-hour produces 0.1119 g hydrogen (from water composition)
  • So 500 amp-hours x 0.1119 g/amp-hr = 55.95 g (with 100% efficiency)
  • Accounting for 65% efficiency, amount of hydrogen produced is 0.65 x 55.95 = 36.37 grams

These examples demonstrate practical applications of the hydrogen mass calculation using typical values for water volume, gas density, electrical current and efficiency.


By examining the molecular makeup of water and the atomic masses of hydrogen and oxygen, we can mathematically determine that there are 0.1119 grams of hydrogen in every 1 gram of water.

Some key points:

  • Water is composed of 2 hydrogen atoms (H2) and 1 oxygen atom (O).
  • Using the atomic masses of H (1.008 g/mol) and O (15.999 g/mol), the mass percentages can be calculated.
  • Hydrogen accounts for 11.19% of the total mass of water.
  • Therefore, for 1 gram of water there are 0.1119 grams of hydrogen.
  • This composition allows calculations of hydrogen mass from quantities of water.
  • The calculation has limitations at extreme conditions, but works well for normal water sources.

Understanding the mass relationships in water has many practical applications across science and engineering fields. Performing calculations using the composition data allows quantification of hydrogen amounts in water for processes like electrolysis, fuel production, and biological digestion.

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