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Hydrogen has three isotopes ( [link] ) and unlike other elements these are given special names to differentiate then from the most abundant isotope. Tritium is radioactive with a half life of about 10 years.

Summary of isotopes of hydrogen.
Isotope Hydrogen-1 Hydrogen-2 Hydrogen-3
Special name Hydrogen Deuterium Tritium
Symbol H D T
Atomic number 1 1 1
Number of neutrons 0 1 2
Mass number 1 2 3
Natural abundance 99.9844% 0.0156% very small

Synthesis of deuterium compounds

Electrolysis of water

The electrolysis of hydrogen-1 water (H 2 O) in the presence of an alkali results in the formation of hydrogen and oxygen.

In a similar manner the hydrolysis of deuterated water (D 2 O) yields deuterium and oxygen.

However, the rate of electrolysis of D 2 O is slightly slower than that of H 2 O. Thus, the partial hydrolysis of water with a mixture of natural isotopes results in the slight enrichment of the water with D 2 O. The level of enrichment in one step is less than 1%. In order to obtain high levels of D 2 O (e.g., ca. 30%) it is necessary to reduce the original volume of water by 1/100,000 th .

Chemical equilibrium

Proton exchange reactions can be used to enrich compounds in deuterium. For example, the reaction of HSD with water shown in [link] has a slight preference for the formation of H 2 S, i.e., K eq = 1.012. Thus, bubbling HSD through water results in the enrichment of the water in HOD. However, about 30% enrichment is about the best that can be achieved by this method.

Fractional distillation

The boiling point of H 2 O is (by definition) 100 °C, in contrast the boiling point of D 2 O is 101.4 °C. Thus, it is possible to separate H 2 O from D 2 O by fractional distillation. This method provides the most suitable route to high isotopic enrichment and D 2 O of 99.8% can be produced this way.

The term heavy water is used for D 2 O of greater than 99.8% enrichment.

Uses of deuterium compounds

Possible nuclear fusion

The largest use of D 2 O is as a moderator and heat exchanger for fission nuclear reactors, however, the biggest potential application will be if nuclear fusion is realized as a commercial process.

The fusion of two deuterium atoms to form a helium atom and energy would be one source of energy, [link] , however, deuterium-tritium fusion is the most promising, [link] .

The deuterium part of the fuel does not pose a great problem because about 1 part in 5000 of the hydrogen in seawater is deuterium. This amounts to an estimate that there is over 10 15 tons of deuterium in the oceans. The tritium part of the fuel is more problematic since there is no significant natural source ( [link] ), and the tritium would have to be obtained by breeding the tritium from lithium.

Since a gallon of seawater could produce as much energy as 300 gallons of gasoline, there is clearly a large amount of energy that can potentially be realized through nuclear fusion. Unfortunately, this advantage is also a disadvantage since the temperatures attained are similar to the surface of the sun, which would vaporize any conventional container. Fusion experiments therefore use a magnetic field to contain the reaction. The shape of the field is like a bottle, hence the term “magnetic bottle”.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
waht is hydrating power of lithium carbonates
Mahar Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of the main group elements. OpenStax CNX. Aug 20, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11124/1.25
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