Why Is Hydrogen a Unique Element?

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Several qualities and characteristics make hydrogen unique: it is the lightest, simplest and most abundant chemical element in the world and is a key component in many consumer and industrial products. Hydrogen is among the most versatile elements as well because it has the ability to take the shape of a liquid, solid or gaseous substance. Hydrogen occurs virtually everywhere, including the water, surface of the Earth and the surrounding atmosphere.

Hydrogen is represented on the period table of elements with the letter "H" and has an atomic number of 1, which means that there is only one proton in its nucleus. Hydrogen is found in large volumes on Earth as well as in giant gas planets and stars. Hydrogen has ideal chemical properties, including the ability to withstand high heat, which makes it ideal for using in fuels and a variety of car parts and electronics. This element was discovered in 1766 by scientist Henry Cavendish, who found that hydrogen produces water when burned. According to Science Kids, this element exists as a liquid under high pressures and low temperatures, and it is stored as such to form liquid hydrogen, which is used as a gas and as a rocket fuel too. Hydrogen is used frequently in chemical manufacturing and for engineering applications, including cooling and welding.