Drinking Heavy Water

By Brian Lemay No comments


hi everyone, welcome back to Cody’s Lab so over here in the background you can see a bottle of Deuterium Oxide or, otherwise known as “heavy water” deuterium is basically the same as hydrogen, but instead of just being a proton, it also contains a neutron the neutron doesn’t change its chemical reactivity all that much but it does about double the mass of the atom and when you make water using pure deuterium, it makes it slightly heavier by about 10% which means you could actually get an ice cube made of frozen “heavy water” and it will sink in normal water now, I recently purchased this because back when I was isolating heavy water on my own, I eventually isolated a sample which I believe was relatively pure heavy water and I ended up tasting it hopefully it’s not salty, and also, heavy water is supposed to taste slightly sweet so let’s go ahead and get a taste of that Well, it’s not salty! and, it does taste a little bit sweet! now, I’m not entirely sure if it tasted sweet because heavy water intrisically tastes sweet as I’ve heard from many people, or if, it was the fact that the lead electrodes that I was using to electrolyze the water to purify it into heavy water was a contaminant and I was tasting the sugar of Lead which, is not particularly good but, the amount I got was obviously not enough to give any sort of poisoning also I plan to do some neutron activation experiments, and heavy water is the best thing you can possibly have to slow down neutrons and in order to produce this quantity it would take me literally years. so I figured I would save a little bit of time and get a little bit extra so I can produce those videos sooner but; the main purpose of this video is I would like to taste this and see if it actually does taste the same as what I had originally produced. so I’m opening this, for the first time here, this bottle looks very nice. I almost hate to even open it but, I really wanna know what it tastes like. so lets crack this seal and open this heavy water now, heavy water is technically toxic. but only in large quantities you see, heavy water, deuterium oxide, does form naturally. Normally deuterium is very rare existing only about 1 in every 6 or 7 thousand hydrogen atoms. which means this tank behind me would contain roughly 20mL worth of heavy water. Its only if you replace more than about twenty percent of the water in your body with heavy water before it starts becoming toxic because the deuterium the heavy hydrogen chemical reactions happen a little bit slower and so if you get too much of it chemical reactions in your body may not work properly so, let’s get me a little drinking cup here how about a fresh test tube so I got my clean test tube here lets take some of this heavy water and pour it in let’s take about yey much, that looks like 5ml or so? okay so now, I know a lot of you guys may ask if heavy water is radioactive and it is not even though if it was, the radiation probably wouldn’t make it through the glass but this heavy water has not been in a reactor so I wouldn’t expect it to be radioactive anyway. It may contain a little bit extra tritium than normal water would because the concentration process would probably also concentrate the tritium but the amounts that are here are still negligible, so, I’m not really worried about radiation from it. tritium is hydrogen just like deuterium is but instead of just one extra neutron it has two extra neutrons so there’s three different nucleons in the nucleus of the atom which is why they call it tritium for “three” tritium is radioactive, in fact it’s very radioactive I have some little phosphor coated glass tubes that have some tritium gas inside of them and that’s what I used in the intro to this video the radiation actually makes them produce light which is pretty awesome the smell smells just like water there’s no real difference there it’s not significantly heavy enough that I could tell any difference from sloshing around so let’s give it a taste okay it actually does taste sweet and about the same as that sample that I had back when I was isolating it myself that’s a good sign it means it wasn’t actually lead that’s cool the water does taste a little bit sweet it’s almost like you know how hay or grass the sweetness if you take some of that and chew on it it’s almost like that it’s got, like, that slight musky flavor to it as well well that’s interesting so I’ve roughly doubled my concentration of deuterium in my body which shouldn’t be harmful at all like I said before that even if I drink this entire thing I would likely still be completely fine that was roughly five or ten dollars worth of deuterium oxide I drank there so it’s not super expensive, but it’s still you know an entire bottle cost over a hundred dollars ok so here i am 24 hours later and obviously I’m not dead in fact I been doing quite well I haven’t exhibited any signs of radiation poisoning or anything like that so I think I’m good one thing I have been doing is I’ve been saving my urine because it will contain a higher concentration of deuterium probably for the next week or so and I thought I might as well save it I’ll probably distill it off and add it to my electrolyzer if I ever tried to produce massive amounts of hydrogen again so the heavy water had a very obvious sweet taste to it the musty taste that i mentioned is probably possibly due to the fact this water has been sitting in this jar for who knows how long and maybe it’s got a little bit stagnant but it definitely tasted sweet to me now the question is is that just like some placebo effect no I know how strong a placebo effect could be maybe it’s because I heard that it was sweet and then my taste is my brains just making it sweet so I’m gonna do a little test here so i have two test tubes one with heavy water and one was just normal distilled water now I’m going to see if Canyon can tell them apart so Canyon wanna come taste some of this – oh, alright see if you can tell which one’s the heavy water, can you sit over there
– over there – I’m gonna hurt your plant ok okay -so
just taste them [whispered] don’t drink too much, just in case it’s radioactive what?
– just in case it’s radioactive huh – alright – well this tasted like water – yeah that tastes sweet
and that’s the heavy water – I got it right?
you did so it does seem that heavy water does have a different taste to it the question is why why would it actually have a different taste why would that be sweet do your tastebuds have like have a diffusion like the water going in and out and it’s slightly different with the heavy water because of the higher mass? because is really the only difference is the mass of each particle so – I don’t know man but it’s definitely sweet so it’s definitely sweet huh so this means that either heavy water is actually sweet or the source i got it from somehow has a contamination that causes very sweet and it was the same with both my process and the girdler-sulfide process
– so what, lead no, they the girdler-sulfide process would it wouldn’t have any lead anywhere in the system but my electrolysis did and lead I think it’s the only thing that would be potentially sweet so my guess is heavy water does actually tastes sweet Canyon had no idea which of these tubes had the heavy water but she was able to determine which one it was almost immediately on tasting it so that tells me that heavy water does have some difference in taste so I’ve tasted this a few more times and I’ve got a pretty good idea of how it tastes and it definitely has a slight aftertaste to it i didn’t mention earlier and also it feels cold on my lips now at first I thought that was because it was actually cold but now that I’ve compared it to the just plain distilled water it didn’t really have that it’s a subtle difference but it’s still there the coldness to it that that was kind of surprised me because i would expect it to be you maybe feel even slightly warmer because it has a slower evaporation you know it’s the evaporation that carries away energy and makes it feel cold but when i put some of this on my skin I do the same with the normal water and blow on the back of my hand the heavy water spot feels slightly colder now maybe this is also something in my head but I’m thinking that it’s not and I think I have a theory as to why this might be you see heavy water having higher mass per molecule it takes more energy to get it to evaporate which you’d think would make it evaporates slower but there’s other things than just the vapor pressure that cause liquid to evaporate such as surface area and how dry the air around it is possibly if those two effects are more significant it would make the evaporation rates about the same but the heavy water would be carrying away more energy making it feel colder yeah just another little thing I’ve noticed from doing this experiment there’s definitely a lot more research that could be done here and I’m frankly surprised it hasn’t been done doing a google search on this I find very conflicting results but yeah so I want to try one more experiment see I have a ice tray here with some ice in it this one is regular water ice normal tap water in fact and tastes just like ice should now this piece over here is some heavy water ice so that’s a still taste noticeably sweet doesn’t seem to taste as sweet though it’s almost like maybe my sense of taste is dulled from the cold probably it actually tastes rather good though ok so there you go see they’re both at their melting point because I’ve held them out for a little while yeah ice cube and feels very cold heavy water ice cube still feels cold but maybe slightly warmer which would make sense this is interesting can actually touch the ice with the deuterated so dry my fingers off and I add the deuterated water to my skin I’m going to touch this ice cube and sticks right to it because the deuterium free water freezes ok so here’s an ice cube and its melting point fingers off get some heavy water going stick to it normally it doesn’t do that that’s cool like that usually in order to get that happen the ice cube has to be colder than the melting point but since it’s at the melting point is colder than the melting point of the heavy water if I do the same some normal water no result they did it with the heavy water freeze oh, that’s cool, it sticks strongly too hope y’all enjoyed I’ll see you next time

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