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Hydrogen -> Tritium

  1. May 1, 2006 #1
    Ok say you take some water and use electrolysis. So you have H2.

    Is it possible to some how go from

    3H2 -> 2H3


    essentially force it to go from stable to unstable-low level radioactive.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2006 #2


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    Gold Member

    I think you are confusing terms here.

    "Hydrogen" is the element with atomic number 1 (1 proton). Its common isotope is H-1, (One proton in the nucleus). The other isotopes are deuterium (H-2; one proton and one neutron) and tritium (H-3; one proton and two neutrons).

    H2 in a chemical equation means that two hydrogen atoms are bound together.
  4. May 2, 2006 #3

    I'd like to point out that though your thoughts weren't correct, it is possible to separate Hydrogen's heavier isotopes by electrolysis. Water is not only made of H2O, but also other molecules made of different isotopes, such as D2O. Electrolysis "picks out" the lighter isotopes, transforming them to hydrogen gas and oxygen more easily, leaving a higher than normal concentration of heavier isotopes. It seems that it is possible to obtain water made more than 90% out of deuterium monoxide ("heavy water"). Maybe the same applies the separation of T2O from water, in order to make a further electrolysis to finally obtain T2
  5. May 2, 2006 #4

    Tritium doesn't exist in nature. (except in very small quantities, or 'traces' produced by the cosmic rays)

    It can be produced in nuclear reactors. Look on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium. There you will find the reaction of a neutron flux with lithium. This is how Tritium is prepared for the H-WMD.

    It is also planned to produce Tritium in fusion reactors. These will be equipped with a blanket of litium where the fusion 14MeV neutrons will produce Tritium. Here tritium will not be used for H-WMDs but as fuel for the fusion reactor itself.

  6. May 2, 2006 #5
    Yeah, now that I think about it, it really is too rare to be obtained in such a way. Thanks for the info.
  7. May 16, 2006 #6
    Actually, I believe that one in every 70 000 000 molecules of hydorgen is tritium.
  8. May 16, 2006 #7
    i believe it can be made in a lab but i doubt you have the resources for that
  9. May 17, 2006 #8
    Yes, tritium is produced as a byproduct of the creation of F-18 from nearly pure water in a cyclotron.
  10. Feb 22, 2011 #9
    Tritium costs about 30 million US $ per Kg to produce.
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