What Is Heavy Water?

Heavy water
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You may have heard of heavy water and wondered how it was different from ordinary water. Here's a look at what heavy water is and some heavy water facts.

Heavy water is water that contains heavy hydrogen or deuterium. Deuterium differs from the hydrogen usually found in water, protium, in that each atom of deuterium contains a proton and a neutron. Heavy water may be deuterium oxide, D2O or it may be deuterium protium oxide, DHO.

Heavy water occurs naturally, although it is much less common than regular water. Approximately one water molecule per twenty million water molecules is heavy water.

So, heavy water is an isotope that has more neutrons than ordinary water. Do you expect this makes it radioactive or not? Here's how it works.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is Heavy Water?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/what-is-heavy-water-609412. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, April 7). What Is Heavy Water? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-heavy-water-609412 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is Heavy Water?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-heavy-water-609412 (accessed March 23, 2018).