Heavy water: properties and applications

Posted on Jan 25, 2021      160


Few people know that water is divided into plain and heavy water. The latter has no smell, color or taste, so it is difficult to recognize. The major differences are the content of isotopes instead of hydrogen atoms and, of course, the properties. Harold Hury discovered heavy water (deuterium oxide) and has the formula 2H2O. It is worth saying right away that it is slightly toxic and can cause serious disorders in the body. For example, in 25% of animals it provokes infertility (with a high content of deuterium death is possible), but for humans is relatively safe.

Heavy water

In 1931 Harold Ury first discovered heavy water, but a year later Gilbert Newton Lewis got pure heavy hydrogen water. Often called deuterium oxide, it has the formula D20. Compared with hydrogen, deuterium is 2 times heavier (the molecular weight of plain water is 18 g/mol), and this explains why the same deuterium water d2o called heavy water.

Immediately we want to dispel one myth. Many people believe that prolonged boiling of water increases the concentration of deuterium and can lead to consequences when using it. Fortunately, this is just a myth, because the concentration is so low that it is not harmful to humans.

If you look at plain and heavy water, it is impossible to compare the properties of light and heavy water by eye. The human body clearly feels the difference between the two liquids. After drinking the latter the metabolism slows down, the accumulation of deuterium can slow down metabolic processes and develop irreversible consequences. One of them is the formation of malignant tumors. Light water is necessary for humans, because it nourishes cells and provides them with antioxidant protection.

Even in terms of chemical composition, there is virtually no difference between the two fluids. Both produce hydrogen, decompose equally during electrolysis, and have the same composition. However, the physical properties are drastically different: boiling and freezing temperatures, vapor elasticity, density, and decomposition time in electrolysis - all these distinguish heavy water from plain water.

Properties of heavy water

Scientists have studied this question for many years and have found light water is radically different from the properties of heavy water. Almost all of them claim that such a liquid is unsuitable for living organisms. Fish, worms, microbes cannot live in it, and animals will die after drinking it. In addition, even aerobic plants cannot survive in it. Main properties:

It has no odor, taste or color;

crystallization of heavy water occurs at 3.813°C;

boils at 101.43°C;

is 20% more viscous than potable H2O;

has a molecular weight of 20.034 g/mol;

has a density of 1.1042 grams per cubic centimeter (at 25°C)

has a certain vapor pressure: 10 mm Hg at 13 degrees and 100 mm at 54 degrees.

It is much more difficult to dissolve salts in it than in drinking water. In addition, hard water cannot absorb neutrons. Only algae and bacteria can exist in it. For a man extra-heavy water in minimum volumes is almost safe and quickly eliminated from the body, plus they contain it in the usual in small concentrations.

Where is the heavy water used?

Quite a long time after its discovery was not clear where and how you can use heavy water. Several decades of research have still led to the fact that D20 began to be used for industrial and scientific purposes. The list is huge, but they consider the following areas the most important:

Nuclear power, medicine, weapons;

Other areas of nuclear technology where neutron inhibition is required;

Science (physics, chemistry, hydrology, biology);

particle detector.

For example, heavy water prevents reproduction of fungi and bacteria, which is necessary in medicine. Increasing the concentration of deuterium up to 50% will lead to antimutagenic properties, and this speeds up puberty in humans and growth of biological mass.

Years of research and experiments on mice with cancerous tumors have led to the following result. The disease receded after the application of hard water, but the subject died. Consumption of the liquid by animals leads to the destruction of the genitourinary organs and metabolic disorders. If the dose of deuterium exceeds the norm by several times, the body dies. Often hard water is called dead because it inhibits all biological processes.

There is a positive side to the use of heavy water. A small volume (up to 20-25%) increases the weight of animals and improves the litter, for example, chickens lay more eggs. Humans encounter dead water at least several times a year. Rivers, seas, lakes, and precipitation all contain a certain amount of deuterium. A surprising fact: rain contains superheavy water in higher concentrations than snow.

It is necessary to distinguish and control the hardness of water, otherwise you cannot avoid the consequences. Excessive concentration leads to premature aging (this applies not only to beauty but also to the body) and even to the development of cancer. This applies to regions where reverse osmosis filters or seawater desalination are used for purification. Sometimes the percentage of diseases in such places exceeds the indicators of the nearest regions.

So far, it is not entirely clear to science whether and how to finally get rid of deuterium. It is possible that the liquid will soon an additional source of energy. To the surprise of many, there is more than just plain and heavy water. Scientists distinguish semi-heavy and super-heavy liquids, and various modifications of isotopes.

Heavy water was discovered almost 90 years ago. All this time, scientists continue to study it and seek answers to many questions about the liquid’s properties, applications, and dangers. It is accurate to say that it differs from ordinary water in several ways, but taste or odor can not distinguish it.