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What is Heavy Water?

What is Heavy Water?

What is Heavy Water?

Heavy water, also known as deuterium oxide (D2O), is a form of water in which the hydrogen atoms (H) are replaced by the isotope deuterium (D), also known as heavy hydrogen. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen that contains one proton and one neutron in its nucleus, whereas the more common hydrogen isotope, protium, has only one proton and no neutrons.

In heavy water, the chemical formula is D2O, indicating that each molecule contains two atoms of deuterium and one atom of oxygen, just like in regular water (H2O). However, because deuterium is heavier than protium, heavy water has a higher density and boiling point than regular water. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, like ordinary water.

Heavy water has several applications in scientific research and industry. It is used as a neutron moderator in some types of nuclear reactors, particularly those that use natural uranium as fuel. It is also employed in certain types of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy experiments and as a tracer in biological and chemical research.



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