OT: Australia, deuterium, etc.

From: Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@saic.com)
Date: Thu Jan 04 2001 - 12:23:58 PST

  • Next message: Mike Bevan: "Obs 04 Jan 01"

    Hi Jonathan,
    > Speaking of Sydney, has anyone visited the Buran space shuttle on display
    > in Sydney, Australia?  I'd like to hear from anybody whoose seen it.  It
    > would cost me around 1500 US dollars to see it - and most of that is
    > transportation costs.  Is it worth that much money?
    I wouldn't make a special trip to Sydney just to see Buran.
    And even if I was going to Australia on vacation, I doubt
    I'd spend valuable vacation time looking at it.  Personally,
    I'd rather spend it scuba diving!  ;-)  But to each his own.
    > Also, I'm having some trouble visualizing deuterium ("heavy hydrogen"). 
    > What is its atomic composition - how is it different than normal
    > hydrogen.  Everything I read about the subject doesn't make any
    > sense to me.
    Deuterium is one of hydrogen's three isotopes (the other
    two are regular hydrogen, and tritium).  The hydrogen
    nucleus contains no neutrons; deuterium has one neutron,
    tritium has two (and is radioactive).  The number of
    protons in an atom's nucleus determines its chemical
    properties (since chemistry deals with an atom's
    electrons, not its nucleus, and the number of electrons
    matches the number of protons).  So, chemically,
    deuterium and tritium behave pretty much the same as
    hydrogen.  All can combine with oxygen to form water,
    for instance.  When the deuterium form of hydrogen is
    combined with oxygen, you get "heavy water".  Regular
    water and heavy water have slightly different properties
    due to the altered angle of the molecular bonds -- for
    example, I think the melting and boiling points might
    be very slightly different.  --Rob
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