Letter | Published:

Purification of Hydrogen Isotopes by Self-Displacement Chromatography at Low Temperatures

Naturevolume 192pages10671068 (1961) | Download Citation



GLUEKAUF1 has shown that protium and deuterium can be separated by displacement gas chromatography using columns of palladium black dispersed on asbestos. The most effective method was stated to be that of self-displacement, whereby the columns were initially charged at room temperature with a mixture of isotopes and then heated from the inlet end, progressively desorbing the gases. Because protium was more strongly adsorbed than deuterium, it functioned as the displacing gas in a displacement chromatography system, and the gases were desorbed as a band of deuterium followed by a band of protium. We have discovered that a similar method, using a column containing Molecular Sieve 5A initially at liquid-nitrogen temperature, results in an excellent separation of hydrogen isotopes with the difference that in this case the leading band consists of protium.

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  1. 1

    Gluekauf, E., and Kitt, G. P., Proc. Intern. Symp. Isotope Separation, Amsterdam, 1957, edit. by Kistamaker, Bigelsein and Nier, 227 (North Holland Pub. Co.).

  2. 2

    Moore, W. R., and Ward, H. R., J. Phys. Chem., 64, P, 832 (1960).

  3. 3

    Moore, W. R., and Ward, H. R., J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 80, 2909 (1958).

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  1. United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Capenhurst Works, Capenhurst, Chester

    • T. R. PHILLIPS
    • , D. R. OWENS
    •  & A. G. HAMLIN


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