If you like us, please share us on social media or tell your professor. Consider building or adopting a Wikitext for your course like Prof. Dianne Bennett from Sacramento City College demonstrates in this video.

ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry Hypertext > Under Construction > Demonstrations > Additional Demos > The Density of Deuterated Water

The Density of Deuterated Water

Chemical Concepts Demonstrated

  • Density
  • Deuteration of water


  • The first set of ice cubes is composed of normal water.  The second set is composed of D2O.
  • Add the cubes to the beaker of water.


The regular ice cubes float in water.  The deuterated ice cubes sink.


Water is less dense in its solid state than in its liquid state.  This property allows solid water (ice) to float in liquid water (objects less dense than the liquid they are in float while objects more dense than the liquid sink).

Ice made from deuterated water, on the other hand, doesn't float.  The hydrogen atoms in a deuterated water molecule are replaced with deuterium atoms.   Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen that is twice as heavy due to an added neutron.   Deuterated ice is about 10% heavier (and, therefore, more dense, because the water molecules still take up the same space) than regular ice.  The density of deuterated ice turns out to be 1.105 g/cm3.   This density is greater than the density of liquid water, so the deuterated cubes sink.


You must to post a comment.
Last modified
10:30, 2 Oct 2013



(not set)
(not set)
(not set)






This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers 1246120, 1525057, and 1413739.

Creative Commons License Unless otherwise noted, content in the UC Davis ChemWiki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at copyright@ucdavis.edu. Questions and concerns can be directed toward Prof. Delmar Larsen (dlarsen@ucdavis.edu), Founder and Director. Terms of Use