Heavy Water –vs.– Regular Water

Chemistry, Physics
[caption id="attachment_14687" align="alignright" width="440"] Heavy Water & Water - Image by Author.[/caption] Hydrogen exists as three varieties or isotopes: protium, deuterium, and tritium. Heavy water, or deuterium oxide (D₂O) is the same compound as ordinary or tap water (H₂O) with one structure difference. Most of the hydrogen atoms in tap water have zero neutrons in their centers, or nuclei. On the other hand, every atom of deuterium contains precisely one neutron. We will not discuss tritium, with its one proton and two neutrons. [caption id="attachment_14693" align="alignright" width="400"] Protium & Deuterium Hydrogen - NASA[/caption] A Closer Inspection of Hydrogen Isotopes The mass of an atom is determined by the nucleus. Since the weight of a proton and that of a neutron are nearly identical, deuterium atoms have a mass essentially double…
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