Heavy Water

Heavy water is also known as deuterium oxide. It was discovered by Urey. It’s molecular formula is D2O and has molecular weight 20. It can be prepared by the prolonged electrolysis of water.

Some of the uses of heavy water are:

– It is used as a moderator in nuclear reactions. It slow down the nuclear reaction.
– It is used as a tracer in metabolic processes.
– It is also used as a germicides and fungicides.

Note: The rate of reaction of heavy water is slower and decomposes slower than the ordinary water because deuterium bond is much stronger than protium bond.

Chemical properties of heavy water:

1. It decomposes to give oxygen when heated.
$$\ce{2D2O->[\Delta]2D2 + O2}$$
2. Reaction with sodium: It react with sodium to give deuterium molecule.
$$\ce{2D2O + 2Na->2NaOD + D2}$$
3. Reaction with sulphur trioxide: Heavy water when reacted with sulphur trioxide gives deutero sulphuric acid.

$$\ce{D2O + SO3->$\underset{\text{Deutero sulphuric acid.}}{\ce{D2SO4}}$}$$

It is highly toxic in nature so it is not recommended for the living organism. However, the small extent of heavy water is always present in ordinary water. In a tank of 500 litre of ordinary water, the presence of heavy water is about 1 litre.

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