Water in which the hydrogen in the molecules is partly or wholly replaced by the isotope deuterium, used especially as a moderator in nuclear reactors.
- The most common moderators are substances of low atomic weight such as heavy water (deuterium oxide) or graphite.
- Because of their heavier weight, heavy water molecules evaporate less readily than light water molecules.
- In heavy water the hydrogen bonds are slightly stronger, and this changes the properties of the liquid sufficiently to disrupt the lubricating effect water has on biochemical processes.
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