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Isotopes of Hydrogen

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Isotopes of an atom are variants of the same atom but with different mass numbers. That is if two atoms have the same atomic number but different mass numbers then they are called the isotopes of one another. Various examples of the isotopes are the isotopes of hydrogen, we have three different isotopes of hydrogen, called tritium, deuterium, and protium. We know that the atomic number of hydrogen is 1 so all these atoms have 1 atomic number but the mass number of each isotope is 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

In this article, we will learn about, what are isotopes, isotopes of hydrogen, and others in detail.

Isotopes Definition

Isotopes are defined as the variant of an element that has the same atomic number but a different mass number, i.e. any two elements having the same mass number but different atomic numbers are called the isotopes of one another the isotopes are the elements that have the same chemical properties but different physical properties. There exist Isotopes of various elements. The isotopes of Carbon are,

  • C-12 (This has 12 nucleons in its nucleus)
  • C-13 (This has 13 nucleons in its nucleus)
  • C-14 (This has 14 nucleons in its nucleus)

Similarly, we have various isotopes of hydrogen that are discussed in the article below.

Learn more about, Isotopes

Isotopes of Hydrogen

The isotopes of hydrogen are the atoms that have the same atomic number similar to Hydrogen (1H1) but have different mass numbers, i.e. they have the same protons but different neutrons in their nucleus. The stable isotopes of hydrogen are,

  • Protium (1H1)
  • Deuterium (1H2)
  • Tritium (1H3)

In nature, the relative abundances of the three isotopes are in the ratio 1: 1.56×10-2: 1×10-18, respectively. Protium atoms make up the majority of hydrogen found in nature. There are no neutrons in protium, while one neutron is present in deuterium and two neutrons are present in tritium. Protium is the most common form of hydrogen, with deuterium accounting for 0.0156% of all hydrogen on the planet’s surface and tritium is found in traces in the environment. Tritium is a radioactive element and has various ill effects on human health.

Tritium, out of these three hydrogen isotopes, is radioactive in nature and generates low-energy β-particles. Isotopes have similar chemical properties because their electrical arrangement is the same. However, because of the varied bond disassociation enthalpies, they have distinct reaction rates. Due to the enormous differences in mass, they have different physical properties. 

The outer shell of all three hydrogen isotopes has one electron while the nucleus has only one proton. They do, however, differ in terms of the number of neutrons. Their chemical properties should be similar because the isotopes have the same atomic number and electronic configuration.

Protium (1H1)

Protium is the basic hydrogen atom, it has a single proton surrounded by a single electron. An element’s isotope is described as an atom with the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons. The letter H is used to denote protium, the normal form of hydrogen. Protium is made up of one proton and no neutrons. In contrast to the common hydrogen atom, which has one proton, one electron, and zero neutrons, deuterium possesses one neutron and one proton.

It is one of the most common hydrogen isotopes. It is abundant in nature, with a 99.98 % abundance rate. One of the reasons for this is that the nucleus of this isotope is made up of only one proton, which has never been recorded to decay. Protium has a mass of 1.007825 amu. H2 is a common example of hydrogen combining with other atoms in compounds ( diatomic hydrogen gas). Since this isotope’s nucleus is made up of only one proton, it is given the descriptive, but rarely used term protium.

Uses of Protium

Various uses of Protium are,

  • Protium is used for various medicinal purposes.
  • It can be used to treat ailments caused by stomach and intestine acid.
  • Protium is also a selective “proton pump inhibitor” a medication that lowers the quantity of stomach acid produced.
  • It is used for making various compounds.

Deuterium (1H2)

Heavy hydrogen, often known as Deuterium, is one of the stable isotopes of hydrogen. Deuterium gets its name from the Greek word deuterons, which means “second.” A Deuteron is a name for the nucleus of a hydrogen-deuterium atom, which contains one proton and one neutron. In the oceans, deuterium is found in a natural abundance of around one atom for every 6420 hydrogens. As a result, deuterium accounts for about 0.025% (0.03% by mass) of all hydrogens found naturally in the seas, whereas protium provides for the remaining 99.98%.

One proton and one neutron make up its nucleus. The deuteron is the nucleus of hydrogen 2. It is not a radioactive substance and hence has no risk of toxicity. Its compounds are utilized as hydrogen 1 solvents and in chemical analysis. All of the Deuteriums in the universe are assumed to have been created at the Big Bang and have survived since then. Nuclear fusion also uses hydrogen 2 as a fuel. It is found in nature as deuterium gas.

Heavy water is enriched with deuterium-based molecules rather than protium-based molecules. It’s utilized as a neutron moderator and a coolant. Heavy water is water that contains deuterium instead of regular hydrogen in its molecules. Heavy water is utilized in nuclear reactors as a neutron moderator and coolant. Deuterium could possibly be used as a commercial nuclear fusion fuel.

Uses of Deuterium

Various uses of Deuterium are,

  • Deuterium is used in heavy water-moderated fission reactors, they are utilized as a tracer in nuclear fusion reactors to slow down the neutrons.
  • Deuterium is used in fusion reactors. Deuterium atoms are also used in military, industrial, and scientific applications.
  • Deuterium is also used in chemical investigations and in solvents for 1H-NMR spectroscopy, deuterium and its derivatives are utilized as non-radioactive labels.

Tritium (1H3

Due to the instability and radioactivity of its nucleus, tritium is the rarest isotope of hydrogen. Two neutrons and one proton make up its nucleus. Due to the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric gases, small amounts of hydrogen 3 or tritium can be found in nature. They’re also released in small amounts after nuclear test explosions. It is radioactive, and beta decay transforms it into helium 3. Also, 3.0160492 u is the atomic mass of hydrogen 3.

It is sufficiently radioactive to be utilized as luminous paint, making it helpful in clocks where the glass moderates the quantity of radiation that escapes. Small amounts of tritium are produced naturally when cosmic rays interact with atmospheric gases. Tritium has also been generated during nuclear weapons tests. It’s utilized in nuclear fusion reactions, as an isotope geochemistry tracer, and in self-powered illumination devices. Tritium has been utilized as a radiolabel in chemical and biological labeling research.

Uses of Tritium

The following are the uses of the tritium atom.

  • In biology, tritium is widely used to indicate hydrogen, and hence in metabolic studies. As a result, we were able to lower the biological half-life inside the human body to between 6 and 9 days.
  • Tritium has replaced radium in the manufacture of luminous dials for watches and navigational devices in ordinary life.
  • The high levels of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing that happened prior to the adoption of the Partial Test Ban Treaty were unexpectedly beneficial, according to oceanographers. The enormous amounts of tritium oxide discharged into the ocean’s upper layers have been utilized to determine the rate of mixing between the upper and lower levels.
  • Tritium can be found in the radioactive waste produced by reprocessing facilities and military bases because it can be manufactured in reactor core nuclear fuel through ternary fission processes, which are quite rare.

The image added below shows the naturally occurring isotopes of hydrogen.

Isotopes of Hydrogen

 

Hydrogen-4

Hydrogen-4 is the isotope of hydrogen that has four nucleons in its nucleus and hence the name Hydrogen-4. It has 1 proton and 3 neutrons in its nucleus. It is a highly unstable isotope of hydrogen. It is manufactured in the laboratory by bombarding Tritium with fast-moving Deuterium nuclei.

It comprises 1 proton and 3 neutrons in its nucleus. Hydrogen-4 is a highly unstable isotope of hydrogen. It is incorporated in laboratories bombarding tritium with fast-moving deuterium nuclei. Its atomic mass is 4.02781 ± 0.00011.

Hydrogen-5

Hydrogen-5 is the isotope of hydrogen that has five nucleons in its nucleus and hence the name Hydrogen-5. It has 1 proton and 4 neutrons in its nucleus. It is a highly unstable isotope of hydrogen. It is manufactured in the laboratory by bombarding Tritium with fast-moving Tretium nuclei.

It comprises 4 neutrons and 1 proton. Hydrogen-5 is a highly unstable isotope of hydrogen. It has been incorporated in the laboratory by bombarding tritium with fast-moving tritium nuclei.

Hydrogen-6

Hydrogen-6 is the isotope of hydrogen that has six nucleons in its nucleus and hence the name Hydrogen-6. It has 1 proton and 5 neutrons in its nucleus. It is a highly unstable isotope of hydrogen. It is a radioactive element with a half-life of 290 Yoctoseconds.

Hydrogen-7

Hydrogen-7 is the isotope of hydrogen that has seven nucleons in its nucleus and hence the name Hydrogen-7. It has 1 proton and 6 neutrons in its nucleus. It is a highly unstable isotope of hydrogen. It is a radioactive element with a half-life of 23 Yoctoseconds.

Radioactive Isotopes of Hydrogen

Radioactive isotopes of hydrogen are the isotopes of hydrogen that are radioactive in nature, i.e. they radiate alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. The naturally occurring isotope of hydrogen is Tritium. It is an unstable isotope of hydrogen, and the half-life of Tritium is 12.32 years. It has 3 neutrons in its nucleus.

Apart from that Hydogrn also has some other radioactive isotopes that are formed artificially in the laboratory.

  • Hydrogen-4
  • Hydrogen-5
  • Hydrogen-6
  • Hydrogen-7

Read More,

FAQs on Isotopes of Hydrogen

Q1: What are Isotopes of Hydrogen?

Answer:

The isotopes of hydrogen are the elements that have the same atomic number similar to Hydrogen (1H1) but have different mass numbers, i.e. they have the same protons but different neutrons in their nucleus. The stable isotopes of hydrogen are,

  • Protium (1H1)
  • Deuterium (1H2)
  • Tritium (1H3)

Q2: Which is the most common Isotope of Hydrogen?

Answer:

The most common isotope of hydrogen is Protium(1H1). Among all the hydrogen in the universe, 99.98 percent is in Protium form. This isotope of hydrogen has only one Proton.

Q3: Which is the Radioactive Isotope of Hydrogen?

Answer:

The radioactive isotope of hydrogen is Tritium. It is an unstable isotope of hydrogen, and the half-life of Tritium is 12.32 years. It has 3 neutrons in its nucleus.

Q4: How many Isotopes of Hydrogen exist?

Answer:

There are three isotopes of hydrogen that exist naturally, that include,

  • Protium
  • Deuterium
  • Tritium

Other than that, the other isotopes of the hydrogen created in the lab by the researchers are,

  • Hydrogen-4
  • Hydrogen-5
  • Hydrogen-6
  • Hydrogen-7

The man-made isotopes of hydrogen are highly radioactive and they exist for a fraction of a second.

Q5: Is Protium an Isotope of Hydrogen?

Answer:

Yes, Protium is one of the isotopes of the hydrogen. It is the most common isotope of hydrogen and about 99.98 % of all the hydrogen in the universe is Protium. It is an atom which has only one proton in its nucleus.


Last Updated : 02 Jun, 2023
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