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Record Details

Glass Phial Containing Heavy Water, by Norsk Hydro, Norway, ?c.1940

Inventory Number: 13525
Object Type:
Accession Number: 2011-3
Brief Description: Glass phial containing 25g of heavy water, in nickel tube in original wooden case. The sample is marked 99.95%, which is nuclear reactor grade purity.

Deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen) was discovered in 1931, and heavy water (deuterium oxide), a form of water containing more of this hydrogen isotope than normal water, was first made in 1932. The Norwegian chemical company Norsk Hydro was the first to manufacture it commercially, in 1934, and the only European source during the Second World War, when the plant fell under German control. From 1938 heavy water was used in atomic research and became (and remains) a component of some nuclear reactors, including those intended for making weapons. It also has biological and medical uses, but is neither toxic nor (as often mistakenly thought because of its association with nuclear reactors) radioactive. For further details see narratives, and entry for other sample (44590).
Primary Inscriptions: Norsk Hydro printed label on glass phial. Viking ship logo and lettering on nickel tube. Wooden case inscribed at end: '99.95% | 25 grs.'.
Provenance: Presented by Professor Dave Wark in 2011.
Collection Group:
Material(s): Glass
Height Width Depth Diameter Unit
43 43 202 mm


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