Friday, 11 June 2010

Drowning in Heavy Water

A Heavy Water extravaganza this week on the Periodic Table of Videos this week.

I thought I'd bring it all together here on the blog, plus tell some of the stories behind it all.

Professor Martyn Poliakoff had been talking for some time about an experiment he'd like to see.

Namely, freezing a cube of heavy water (deuterium oxide, in which the hydrogen from water is replaced by heavier deuterium) and seeing if the cube floats in water like normal ice.

So Debbie Kays and Neil Barnes did the experiment.

It was no surprise the "heavy ice" sank.

However what surprised us was that it started to rise over the next hour or so.

Funnily enough, we'd moved on to filming something else when I noticed the heavy ice was rising and filmed the extra shots of its gradual ascent.

It seems everyone, from The Professor to a lowly non-scientist like me, has a different theory as to why this happened.

And it has been the subject of much speculation in the comments section under the YouTube video.

We have not established the reason for sure, but I like to see people discuss it intelligently... What a great use of the YouTube comments section!

Anyway, the second video posted was filled with more interview footage from Professor Polaikoff.

This is typical stuff from Martyn - lots of great anecdotes, ranging from daring deeds in World War II to the best way to drink whiskey!

Even stories of deuterated dogs!

The video also deals with my burning question - what happens if you drink heavy water!?

Even after all that, there was still a few clips from Martyn I hadn't squeezed in to the main videos.

This is the sort of stuff I put on our behind the scenes site of Test Tube (YouTube channel nottinghamscience)

Here are the extras.

So what will be turning our attention to next week? Stay tuned.

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