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InfamousX241

Making Tritium

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I've always liked radioactive elements, and I've read a lot on the different radioisotopes of various elements. Lately I've been reading about Tritium.

 

Supposedly Tritium is made with Hydrogen-1 by means of neutron capture. This, I believe would make Triton gas. I've read about the safety of Tritium in gaseous form (I've even seen some mathematical formulas that show how quickly air flushes it out) and it seems pretty safe as long as you're careful.

 

My question is, if it is practical to make Triton gas via neutron capture, do the neutrons have to be slowed? Since Hydrogen itself is a moderator of neutrons I'd imagine it would not have to be slowed down. My basic idea is to use Beryllium coated with parrafin wax, along with a steady alpha emitter like Americium to release neutrons.

 

This is if its actually as simple as I think it is, of course.

 

I hope this isn't too farfetched but this seems like an infinitely cool experiment to undertake.

 

Cheers

 

Edit: Heh, I forgot to mention the speed. I'd imagine it would be slow, but how slow? Is there a formula I can use to figure this out? I am fairly new to chemisty, I only started taking real interest a year ago. Just brought a load of books home from the library to learn from.

 

I would be willing to spend a long time (6 months +) doing this. The amount I'm looking for is just enough to put in my element collection, perhaps enough to make a homemade glow-in-the-dark keyring.

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Firstly welcome to the forums!

 

I'm quite shure your not allowed to have this stuff then again maybe you are :S

Have a read here for starters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium

 

f0d36f36eb445d04ed83f4b9856602d5.png shows that Tritium is normally made by bombarding a Nitrogen 14 atom with a neutron though bomdarding duterium works just as well :)

 

Good luck with making Tritiun anyway,

 

Ryan Jones

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Let's speak hypothetically? =P Anyways, thank you so much for replying, yet I have more questions =)

 

Nitrogen-14 is the Nitrogen we breathe everyday and composes of 78% of our air, correct?

 

Also, do these neutrons need to be moderated?

 

I also see that there is apparently some Carbon produced, the problem is that this contaminates the Tritium, doesn't it? Can it easily be filtered out? Thankfully the Carbon produced looks like the stable isotope. Phew, less of a hassle. Tritium is lighter than air... this must mean it should separate from the Carbon-12 effortlessly... I think...

 

Last question, since Deuterium is liquid, will the result of bombarding Tritium with neutrons be 3H2O?

 

Hmm I printed out a couple papers and one claims that Tritium is made by bombarding H-1 with neutrons! Anyways, thank you again!

 

Aha, I found the site that claims this:

 

Human-made tritium is generated by bombarding hydrogen with neutrons in a nuclear reactor or an accelerator

 

http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/tritium.htm

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Let's speak hypothetically? =P Anyways' date=' thank you so much for replying, yet I have more questions =)

[/quote']

 

Nitrogen-14 is the Nitrogen we breathe everyday and composes of 78% of our air' date=' correct?

[/quote']

 

Correct, it is for the most part the Nitrogen in the air, 99.632% of it to be exact. :)

 

Also' date=' do these neutrons need to be moderated?

[/quote']

 

As far as I know they do not but I am not 100% shure on it.

 

I also see that there is apparently some Carbon produced' date=' the problem is that this contaminates the Tritium, doesn't it? Can it easily be filtered out?

[/quote']

 

Tritium is a gas, Carbon is a solid so yes it should be easy to remove :)

 

Last question' date=' since Deuterium is liquid, will the result of bombarding Tritium with neutrons be 3H2O?

[/quote']

 

No, if you have pure Duterium (A gas) and then bombard it with neutrons you'd have pure Tritium (a gas). If on the other hand you had Deuterium Oxide (Equivilant to Deuterium Water) then it would probably form Tritium Oxide. The Tritium could be recovered by reacting the water with a metal say.

 

A quick Google search should bring you more information too :)

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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Thank you so very much. Thanks for clarifying the Deuterium deal, I was thinking of Deutrium Oxide, indeed.

 

Oh I have googled, last night I printed out what looks like 20 pages of information about Tritium =P Just wanted to get some opinions on the practicality.

 

I think I will do this sometime soon, pretty much when I can finance the experiment and conduct it in an at least semi-safe way.

 

Thanks again, feel free to post comments, suggestions, warnings etc.

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Thank you so very much.

 

Oh I have googled' date=' last night I printed out what looks like 20 pages of information about Tritium =P Just wanted to get some opinions on the practicality.

 

I think I will do this sometime, pretty much when I can finance the experiment and conduct it in an at least semi-safe way.

 

Thanks again, feel free to post comments, suggestions, warnings etc.[/quote']

 

I should probably have a go at this in the school lab, we have a basc neutron generator and plenty od Deuterium water spare so I should see if I can make some Tritium! I probably will not do this though becuase Tritium is radioactive and it has a half-life of 12.32 years so its best avoided as it is a beta decay element.

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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I have actually read that Tritium is pretty safe, as long as you don't go ingesting it. The beta particles are pretty low power, also. If the beta rays manage to penetrate a glass jar, I wouldn't imagine it being able to penetrate even the first layer of your skin.

 

I don't know if what I've read is really pro-Tritium or what, but I feel safe working with Tritium for some reason.

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I have actually read that Tritium is pretty safe' date=' as long as you don't go ingesting it. The beta particles are pretty low power, also. If the beta rays manage to penetrate a glass jar, I wouldn't imagine it being able to penetrate even the first layer of your skin.

 

I don't know if what I've read is really pro-Tritium or what, but I feel safe working with Tritium for some reason.[/quote']

 

True, but with such a long half life and the fact its a school lab I'll probably not do this :)

 

I may create some Tritium Water instead - its easier to store :)

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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Tritium Oxide is a much better idea. I'll google a way to make Deuterium Oxide at home =P

 

If Zinc Sulphide were soluble in water, would making a Tritium Oxide - Zinc Sulphide solution result in glowing water? That would be pretty cool!

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While the energy that tritium gas releases when it decays may be somewhat small, it's short half life (~12 years) means that it decays quite a bit in a short period of time. So the small energy of decay is overcome by the frequency of decay. The main problem with tritium is that it is a gas and it can readily be inhaled into your body. No matter how weak the energy of decay is, you don't want ANY radioactive gases inside of you. Your skin can stop most beta particles, but your lung tissue can't really do it without getting harmed. In addition, when the beta particles are stopped they tend to give off some x-rays which can cause some trouble.

 

So I would be incredibly careful if you plan on working with tritium. If it's locked up into a compound then it's not nearly as bad as long as you don't go ingesting it. But as a gas it's not something I'd reccomend working with. (My own source of tritium is a compound inside a sealed key-ring).

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I see, thank you.

 

I think if anything, I'll be bombarding Deuterium Oxide with neutrons. I need a place to get it cheap though, or can I make it myself?

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I see' date=' thank you.

 

I think if anything, I'll be bombarding Deuterium Oxide with neutrons. I need a place to get it cheap though, or can I make it myself?[/quote']

 

If you like in America you can easily get this stuff as its produced in nuclear reactors. The stuff I have came from a supplier that does not ship abroad but one called unitednuclear.com may be able to help you!

 

This stuff is a byproduct and its really quite cheap too, the stuff I have got has radiationlevels the same as the water so I cna acutaly srink this stuff!

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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My question is, if it is practical to make Triton gas via neutron capture

 

If I were you, I would leave it by a nice experiment in your head or on paper. You will NEVER see a visible amount of tritium.

 

The americium samples you are talking about (in fire detectors) are increadibly small (microgram quantities). Taking into account all losses, inefficiencies and so on, do not expect to make more than a few nanogrammes of tritium.

 

Indeed, there is a (small) risk of being exposed to radiation. I personally would not mess with radioactive materials, not even with the small quantities. It is not worth the risk. No, there will be no smoke, no fire, no smells, nothing spectacular to be excited about, not even the tiniest bubble of gas, but you will receive a certain dose of radiation.

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Actually woelen, in fire detectors they use something like 0.1 microcurie of americium to generate the ionic field used by the detector. No tritium is used at all. Where tritium is used are in exit signs and other important signs which must be visible even if there is no electricity. In those signs, a slurry of a zinc sulfide and tritium doped compound is mixed.

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This stuff is a byproduct and its really quite cheap too' date=' the stuff I have got has radiationlevels the same as the water so I cna acutaly srink this stuff!

[/quote']

 

Wow. No, don't drink Deutirium Oxide! :eek: :eek: It may not be horribly reactive but it can make you go sterile! It has something to do with the bond angles of Deutirium Oxide being slightly different/stronger/etc. In small amounts it wont do much but it can mess up A LOT of biological processes..

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Also' date=' do these neutrons need to be moderated?

[/quote']

(referring to the N(n,T)C reaction)

 

The wiki link says fast neutrons, so not only do they not need to be moderated, a low-energy neutron probably won't make the reaction happen.

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Wow. No, don't drink Deutirium Oxide! :eek: :eek: It may not be horribly reactive but it can make you go sterile! It has something to do with the bond angles of Deutirium Oxide being slightly different/stronger/etc. In small amounts it wont do much but it can mess up A LOT of biological processes..

 

 

You need to drink a SUBSTANTIALLY large amount of deuterium oxide in order for ANY physical effects to be seen. In addition, the effects it has on biological processes is caused by its heavier weight than normal water which slows down reactions and can cause problems because a reaction is proceeding to slow to allow it to complete successfully. Again, however, with D2O you need to ingest an enormous amount in order to displace the normal water in a human body.

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Hmmm so it is slow indeed =( Damn it

 

I think I'll just pull a Hahn. The Seaborg process seems promising...

 

(if you oppose the household creation of Plutonium, I am joking. Otherwise, I am looking for depleted uranium)

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Wow. No, don't drink Deutirium Oxide! :eek: :eek: It may not be horribly reactive but it can make you go sterile! It has something to do with the bond angles of Deutirium Oxide being slightly different/stronger/etc. In small amounts it wont do much but it can mess up A LOT of biological processes..

 

I did not say I was going to anyway ;-) Saying that every one drinks and eats small ammounts of this stuff and it does not really do any harm.

 

Like I said I had no intention of doing so though the radiation levels in the substance are safe to drink.

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan Jones

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This is set up as (Atomic Mass/Atomic Number)Species. (3/1)H is titrium. I'm sorry I don't understand the link about writing these characters here.

 

Titrium occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere by this reaction and reached its highest concentration when we tested a lot of nukes, but it was still very small (5 in 10,000,000,000,000,000).

 

(14/7)N + (1/0)n -> (12/6)C + (3/1)H

 

The neutrons are supplied by cosmic rays and it makes its way to the earth in precipitation, normally in molecules like HOT, (HOH is water, T is titrium).

 

It is made in nuclear reactors by this reaction, (6/3)Li + (1/0)n -> (3/1)H + (4/2)He.

 

Most of this information comes from Descriptive Inorganic, Coordination, and Solid-State Chemistry by Glen E. Rodgers. It's a fabulous little book that I reccomend for everyone interested in chemistry. It's a good read.

 

This is the way I see it. You're in a race against time if you're trying to get your own titrium, which has a half life of 12.3 years. I'd go the route of the deuterium farmer, only I'd get rid of the deuterium too, but that would only get you HOT and TOT as well. I'd use further electrolosys on the isolotated HOT and TOT to try to isolate the T. I'm pretty sure it would seperate, however I'm not sure how it would seperate, but I do know it would be lower on the electrode than the DOD and the HOD. Anyway, that's the way I would go.

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Actually woelen, in fire detectors they use something like 0.1 microcurie of americium to generate the ionic field used by the detector. No tritium is used at all. Where tritium is used are in exit signs and other important signs which must be visible even if there is no electricity. In those signs, a slurry of a zinc sulfide and tritium doped compound is mixed.

Sorry if I was not clear. I did not say that these detectors contain tritium, what I meant was making tritium with the help of the material from these detectors.

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