Structural Formula Vector Image
Title: Deuterium
CAS Registry Number: 7782-39-0
Additional Names: Heavy hydrogen
Literature References: 2H or D. Exists in the diatomic state, D2; mol wt 4.028. Stable, non-radioactive isotope of hydrogen, q.v. Shows ortho and para isomerism. Prepd by electrolysis of heavy water, D2O (obtained by the H2S/H2O exchange process) or by fractional distillation of liq hydrogen: Urey et al., Phys. Rev. 39, 164 (1932); Spevack, US 2787526 (1957 to USAEC). The hydrogen bomb contains lithium deuteride (LiD) as explosive and plutonium (Pu) as initiator. After detonation by Pu the following reaction sequence takes place (nuclear fusion): 6Li + D = 24He; 6Li + n = 4He + T; 6Li + T = 24He + n (n = neutrons, coming from Pu in the second reaction). Since the explosion does not start by itself, there is no critical mass and no limit to the size of the bomb. Use as chemical tracer: Wiberg, Chem. Rev. 55, 713-743 (1955). Toxicology: J. F. Thomson, Biological Effects of Deuterium (Pergamon Press, 1964). Review: Mackay, Dove in Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry vol. 1, J. C. Bailar, Jr. et al., Eds. (Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1973) pp 77-116; Chemistry of the Elements, N. N. Greenwood, A. Earnshaw, Eds. (Pergamon Press, New York, 1984) pp 38-74; J. J. Katz in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology vol. 8 (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 4th ed., 1993) pp 1-17.
Properties: Colorless, odorless, flammable gas having properties similar to hydrogen. d (liq, 20.4 K) 0.169. bp -249.49° (23.67 K). mp -254.43° (18.73 K) at 128.5 mm (triple point). Crit temp -234.75°. Crit press. 16.432 atm. Flammable limits in air: 5-75%. Calculation of vapor press. from the triple point to the crit point: Friedman et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 73, 1310 (1951).
Melting point: mp -254.43° (18.73 K) at 128.5 mm (triple point)
Boiling point: bp -249.49° (23.67 K)
Density: d (liq, 20.4 K) 0.169
CAUTION: Can act as an asphyxiant by displacing air. See: Matheson Gas Data Book (Matheson, 6th ed., Lyndhurst, NJ, 1980) pp 215-218.
Use: Used extensively in small amts as tracer in the establishment of rates and kinetics of chemical reactions.

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