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   Question

What is heavy water?

Asked by: Adnan Strujic

Answer

Normal water is made of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom covalently bonded together. This gives the famous H20 formula.

Heavy water has exactly the same structure, except the hydrogen atoms are isotopes of hydrogen called 'Deuterium'. Standard hydrogen has one proton in its nucleus (Relative Molecular Mass = 1), deuterium has one proton AND one neutron in it nucleus, (RMM = 2) hence it is 'heavier' than normal hydrogen. This leads to the water being heavier. Mass of water = 18, mass of heavy water = 20.

Answered by: Simon Hooks, Physics A-Level Student, Gosport, UK


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