If a container of pure water is rotated fast enough at high rpm, would $\mathrm{D_2 O}$ separation be feasible?

Another way to ask is: it practically and physically possible with current technology to spin the water container at sufficient rpm (revolutions per minute) to accomplish heavy water separation?

  • $\begingroup$ I suspect vibrations will work against the natural tendency of heavy water to separate, but I don't see a reason why such method would not work in a vibration-free environment e.g: space $\endgroup$ – lurscher Aug 17 '17 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @lurscher I think vibrations can be handled with precise engineering and maybe with elastic compensation layers. More problem what I can see, is the ordinary diffusion. There is a good trick, how can it be calculated, but unfortunately this comment is too short for me to write there. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '17 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ @peterh even with diffusion you would get differential concentrations at different radius of the centrifuge (much like enriched uranium centrifuges) and you could get a separation pipeline by concatenating such centrifuges resulting in increasingly concentrated heavy water $\endgroup$ – lurscher Aug 18 '17 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @lurscher Exactly. And, with a little trick, the barometric height formula can be used to calculate the exact dependence of the separation on the length, rotation speed and the component densities. Unfortunately, the results don't show very easy configurations from an engineering perspective, but yes it is possible. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '17 at 13:28

I am prety sure it would work, but separation factor is pretty low(1.1111…) because D2O is only 10% heavier. Its just inneficient.

  • $\begingroup$ How was that separation factor obtained? It would be instructive to see the equations that determine how feasible this is. $\endgroup$ – probably_someone Oct 9 '18 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ Man, a 10% separation in one step would be amazingly better than any other method... $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Oct 9 '18 at 21:49

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