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Some trivia on Heavy Water.

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Feb 4, 2001
Want some trivia to take with you to your next LAN party?

Heavy water is the stuff they use to cool nuclear reactors. Being the eccentric that I am I decided to contact some people and find out if its possible to get some of this stuff to use in my set up.

Here's a link to the website and people I swapped e-mail with.

Here is a copy of my e-mail and the questions I asked:

I am currently experimenting with water cooling my CPU. I am interested in the possible benefits of using heavy water in my system.

1) Is it illegal for private citizens to obtain heavy water for hobby use?
2) Is it expensive?
3) Can it be easily made in small quantities, ie 3 - 5 gallons?

Here is their response:


I wouldn't think that the cooling capability of
heavy water would be different enough from normal
water to justify the cost. Heavy water costs about
$1500 per kg, and the cooling capability might be
only 10% better. (So 3-5 gallons will cost you about
$27,000.) This water is used in nuclear reactors not
because of it's heat transfer properties, but because
of it's neutron interaction cross-section.

If you are still interested in obtaining some heavy
water, you would have to talk to AECL (Atomic Energy
of Canada Limited) directly. The heavy water we are
using is on loan from them. There are no laws against
using heavy water, just possibly bureaucratic barriers
in obtaining it.

- Phil H

Don't let the $27000 dollars scare you off, after all thats only Canadian dollars :)
Heck I think flourinert is less than that, it doesnt cool quite as well but you can literally imerse all your components in it and super chill it, lol, as i remember a gallon of flourinert is in the 1000 dollar USD range, heavy water just has an extra neutron, im not sure it would be any better at all at cooling
i wonder if the engineers that design cooling systems for nuclear reactors have any ideas on a cooling system for a cpu....

you can get 'heavy water' from sigma-aldrich it is not cheap - $11000 kg. The neutron cross-section idea is right and that is what it is used for in nuclear reactors. Other chemists use it mainly in NMR experements and labeling studies.

Another intersting trivia fact about heavy water - don't drink it, even though it is very similar to regular water, the body has no way of getting rid of it!!
Right story about the NMR. We've used it as solvent for NMR scans of polymers. As far as I remember, it's carcinogene too, I would stay away from this stuff. Our University (of Amsterdam) gets the (deutero)isotopes from Camebridge Isotope Laboratories, maybe they've got some classifieds section on their page :) :) LOL

I would forget this idea, it's just as insane as N2 cooling. To those idiots out there wanting to build an 'heavy water' intercooler liquid N2 cooled:"Buy a piece of rope, it's much cheaper!!!".