Sales Toll Free No: 1-855-666-7446

Deuterium is one of the major isotope of hydrogen atom. Hydrogen atom is a special element when we consider the elements in periodic table. The literal meaning of hydrogen is combustion yields water. Another important thing is the major element in the composition of universe is nothing but the hydrogen. We know that the isotopes are atoms consisting of same atomic number (Z) and different mas numbers (A). In other words, an isotope has same proton number and different neutron number. In the case of hydrogen, it has three naturally occurring isotopes denoted as 1H, 2H and 3H. The most stable radioisotope among these three is tritium, with a half-life of 12.32 years. Hydrogen is the only element that has different names for its isotopes in common use today. The 2H isotope is usually called deuterium. The symbol used to represent deuterium is D.



Back to Top
Deuterium (2H) is an important stable hydrogen isotope. The nucleus of deuterium consists of one proton and one neutron. It is not a radioactive and does not possesses toxicity. The water composed of deuterium is known as the deuterium water or heavy water.

Deuterium Water

Back to Top
As mentioned earlier, deuterium water (heavy water) is also known as deuterium oxide and the chemical formula is D2O. Deuterium water is composed of deuterium with a mas double that of ordinary hydrogen and oxygen. So the atomic weight is about 20 g. Deuterium water is denser than normal water. It is non reactive in nature. Deuterium water is used as a moderator of neutrons in nuclear power plants. It is also used as an isotopic tracer.

Deuterium depleted water: This is nothing but the heavy water contain less amount of deuterium. That means the concentration of deuterium is less compared to the heavy water.

Heavy Hydrogen

Back to Top
Heavy hydrogen is the alternate name of deuterium is an isotope of ordinary hydrogen: whereas an atom of ordinary hydrogen has a single proton for its nucleus, heavy hydrogen has a nucleus of two nucleons,a proton and a neutron . When two of these heavy hydrogen nuclei collide, they combine to form a single nucleus of helium, which has four nucleons (two protons and two neutrons); its symbol is 4He.The energy liberated when two heavy hydrogen nuclei combine to form a helium nucleus is 24MeV. This is the bonding energy of the helium nucleus. The fusion of pairs of heavy hydrogen nuclei to form helium nuclei is, indeed , the sun's chief source of energy. During the fusion reaction, the sun's ordinary hydrogen must first be converted to heavy hydrogen.

Hydrogen Deuterium Exchange

Back to Top
Hydrogen deuterium exchange is a chemical reaction in which the hydrogen is replaced by deuterium. The chemical bond present in the hydrogen atom is covalent bond. This is an exchange reaction. So a deuterium atom can also be replaced by hydrogen atom. The bonding is same in the case of hydrogen and deuterium.

Deuterium and Tritium

Back to Top
As we know, deuterium is a heavy isotope of hydrogen. It is represented as 2H.The peculiarity of deuterium is mentioned in the above paragraphs. Then tritium is the other important one among the hydrogen isotope.It is denoted as 3H and consists of two neutrons and one proton which is present in the nucleus. It is radioactive, decaying into helium-3 through beta-decay with half life of 12.32 years. There is a presence of tritium in nature due to the interaction of atmospheric gas with the cosmic rays. When the nuclear weapon test is happening, then the tritium is released as a result.

The applications of tritium include, thermonuclear fusion weapons, as a tracer etc. The common method to produce tritium is to bombard a lithium isotope with neutrons. It is used as a radio label in biological labeling experiments.
Some of the uses of deuterium is given below:

  • Deuterium and its compounds are used as a non radioactive label in chemical experiments
  • Used as a solvents for 1H-NMR spectroscopy.
  • Heavy water is used as a neutron moderator and coolant form nuclear reactor.
  • Deuterium is a potential fuel for commercial nuclear fusion.