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What is the difference between Hydrogen and Protium?

  1. Sep 25, 2012 #1
    I hope this is posted in the correct forum;

    From what I remember in school, Hydrogen (atomic weight 1) consists of 1 proton and 1 electron with 0 neutrons. Protium is an isotope of Hydrogen, which I assume makes it slightly different than H as is listed on a periodic chart, yet from what I am reading, still has an electron, yet no neutrons. How is that different than regular hydrogen? Is it that regular hydrogen really doesn't exist on it's own and is always paired? If so, that's kind of a misleading isotope.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2012 #2


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    Science Advisor

    In physics and chemistry, protium refers to hydrogen-1, the most common isotope of the element hydrogen, with one proton and no neutrons


    Above is reference.
  4. Sep 26, 2012 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Hydrogen can refer to any isotope of the element, while protium is a specific isotope, similar to dueterium and tritium.
  5. Sep 26, 2012 #4
    Thanks for the responses guys. I had some help from a friend at work and my mistake was incorrectly understanding what an isotope actually was - I thought it meant that it was different from the parent. In this case I thought there was substance A (hydrogen) and if you changed it, you would get substance B,C or D (protium, deuterium or trituim. I now see that hydrogen is the substance, but has 3 flavors with protium being the most common flavor of the hydrogen class.

    Thanks for the replies though guys.
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