Bigeleisen, Jacob Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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The isotope of the element hydrogen with atomic weight 2.0144 and symbols 2H or D. Considerations of nuclear stability and a discrepancy between the chemical and physical atomic weights of hydrogen led to the prediction of a stable isotope of hydrogen of mass 2. A successful search for this isotope, deuterium, was made by H. C. Urey, F. G. Brickwedde, and G. M. Murphy in 1931. The terrestrial natural abundance of deuterium is 1 in 6700 parts of ordinary hydrogen (protium), of atomic weight 1.0078. Small variations in natural sources are found as a result of fractionation by geological processes. Industrial hydrogen, particularly that generated by electrolysis of water, may contain significantly less deuterium.
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