Topics: Tritium, Neutron, Nuclear fusion Pages: 4 (1346 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Wonder what happens when an airplane crash? One might imagine it would be total chaos since the electricity will go out and since there is no light, no one can see and people would be trampled. The truth is not like that. Even without electricity, people would still be able to see. This is because the plane is equipped with a self-illuminating lamp, a lamp that could run without electricity. That way people can still coordinate on the plane and the accident won’t be that fatal. However, one would be surprised that the power used by these lamps are also used in one of the most destructive weapon, the hydrogen bomb. This power is tritium, an isotope. Isotopes are elements that have different amounts of neutron (Knapp 11). Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen, that is used in modern science and there are also health implication through the exposure of tritium. Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen that has mass number 3. It consists of 1 proton and 2 neutrons (the word ‘tri’ in the name means that it has mass number 3, just like deuterium, where ‘deu’ means mass number 2). Ernest Rutherford, M. L. Oliphant and Paul Harteck first discovered it in 1934, when they bombarded deuterium with deuterons, which are the nuclei of deuterium (Tritium | Radiation Protection | EPA). Today, tritium is produced naturally by cosmic rays or by nuclear explosions. Tritium tends to replace hydrogen in an organic material or water. In water, it replaces one of the normal hydrogen atoms, making water HTO (hydrogen tritium and oxygen) instead of H2O, and this new water is called tritiated water. Tritiated water act like normal water, colorless and odorless, and the only difference is the radiation created by the decaying of it (Tritium | Radiation Protection | EPA). It is also easier for tritium to combine with any other lighter elements than normal hydrogen (protium). Tritium when decay become Helium-3, Helium with mass number 3. This happens when tritium breaks one of its...
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