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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

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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waht is hydrating power of lithium carbonates
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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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