Taste Test for Heavy Water

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Nicolas Krause
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Taste Test for Heavy Water

Post by Nicolas Krause » Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:22 pm


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Frank Sanns
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Re: Taste Test for Heavy Water

Post by Frank Sanns » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:19 pm

Interestingly, I have smelled a difference between distilled water and heavy water. There is a very, very, slight smell of something like ethylene glycol or dioxane in there (a sweetish odor). Like one drop per liter. It is very faint but detectable especially if you A and B them back to back.

One also has to exclude any container or impurity smell. Water is easy since many impurities are easy to identify. Polyethylene and polycarbonate are also easy to identify. Heavy water does have a different smell. I have never tasted it because it is not totally innocuous. A taste is not toxic so I will give it a go.

Being a chemist, I can identify many molecules by their smell. On many occasions I have demonstrated how easily to detect the difference between toluene and xylene. For the non chemists, it is a benzene ring (hexagonal molecule) with either one or two methyl groups on it (CH3). Quite a few people can do that but I a select few of us can even distinguish the separation of the two methyl groups of xylene. The two can be on any pair of the six sided hexagon. I can distinguish between 1 and 2, 1 and 3, and 1 and 4 positions blind. Do not even need to compare.

Not trying to brag but rather to say that I easily detect a difference in smell that I do not think is an impurity or the odor of a bottle. For a scientific test, I would have to have a fresh sample of both distilled in glass and sealed in glass to conclusively say the difference and describe the smell. I have everything here to do the distillation and test but oh the time. Time is so rare for so many things to still have to do.

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