Just something that came up to me while I was having a conversation about submarines: Since deuterium oxide (heavy water) is far denser than water and has different characteristics than normal salt water, what would happen when a propeller reaches an rpm that would create cavitation in normal water? If there are any specific characteristics of deuterium that are important that I'm missing here please include them.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you talking about liquid deuterium, which only exists below 18 K? If so, liquid deuterium is far less dense than water, with a density of only 0.164 g/cc. $\endgroup$ Feb 9, 2018 at 4:38
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    $\begingroup$ Or, are you talking about heavy water aka deuterium oxide? $\endgroup$
    – A.V.S.
    Feb 9, 2018 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, yep, I meant deuterium oxide. Heavy water. Sorry about the lack of clarity. $\endgroup$
    – Jihyun
    Feb 10, 2018 at 4:34
  • $\begingroup$ -1 No research effort. Asking here is not a substitute for making an effort towards finding an answer yourself - eg an internet search. See What does everybody mean by insufficient research effort?. $\endgroup$ Feb 14, 2018 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ XD Says the one who didn't research enough to complete his PhD lmaoooo $\endgroup$
    – Jihyun
    Feb 15, 2018 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen with an additional neutron in the nucleus.I suspect that you are talking about heavy water, where the two hydrogen atoms are replaced by deuterium, and not of liquid deuterium, as @probably-someone has rightly pointed out. The density of heavy water is $1.107 g/cm^3$. Thus it is not so much higher than normal water. The difference in density and a small increase boiling temperature to $101.4°C$ (decrease in vapor pressure) would probably be the most important differences to water which could have an influence on cavitation.

  • $\begingroup$ That clears a lot up. Thanks a bunch for the great answer! $\endgroup$
    – Jihyun
    Feb 10, 2018 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Jihyun Keep in mind that the density of saline water is usually greater than that of pure water. Salt in water also influences the melting and the boiling point and thus influences the vapor pressure. $\endgroup$
    – Robin
    Feb 13, 2018 at 10:56

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