Science – Hydrogen
Hydrogen is a chemical element with atomic number one and is found in gas at standard conditions. The symbol used for Hydrogen is ‘H’ and it is found in the gaseous form of diatomic molecules. The formula used for Hydrogen gas is H2.
Hydrogen is the lightest element and it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, and highly combustible.
There are three isotopes of hydrogen:
Protium (symbol H or 1H) – This is the most common isotope of hydrogen, with one proton and no neutrons in its nucleus.
Deuterium (symbol D or 2H) – This is a stable isotope of hydrogen, with one proton and one neutron in its nucleus. Deuterium is also known as “heavy hydrogen” because it has a greater atomic mass than protium.
Tritium (symbol T or 3H) – This is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, with one proton and two neutrons in its nucleus. Tritium is produced in nuclear reactors and can also be found in small amounts in the environment. It decays over time by emitting beta particles, with a half-life of about 12.3 years.
The properties of these isotopes of hydrogen differ due to the number of neutrons in their nucleus. For example, deuterium has a higher atomic mass than protium and is used in heavy water (D2O) for nuclear reactors and scientific research. Tritium, on the other hand, is used in nuclear weapons, as a tracer in biological and environmental research, and in luminous paints and other applications.