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Figure 1. Tritium beta decay energy spectrum
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Design Considerations - index
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Exchange Reactions


DOE-HDBK-1132-99
Photon Emissions . No nuclear electromagnetic emissions (gamma
emissions) are involved in the decay scheme for tritium although it is worth
noting that tritium does produce bremsstrahlung (braking radiation) as its beta
particles are decelerated through interactions with nearby matter.
2.10.5
The Chemical Properties of Tritium .
Generic . Although the chemical properties of tritium have been described in
great detail, three distinctive types of chemical reactions and one underlying
principle in particular are worth noting here. The reaction types are solubility
reactions, exchange reactions, and radiolysis reactions. The underlying
principle is Le Chatelier' Principle. An overview of these types of reactions
s
and Le Chatelier' Principle is presented below.
s
Solubility Reactions. Elemental hydrogen, regardless of its form (H  2, D2, T2, and
all combinations thereof), can be expected to dissolve to some extent in virtually all
materials. On the atomic or molecular scale, hydrogen-like atoms, diatomic
hydrogen-like species, or larger, hydrogen-like-bearing molecules tend to dissolve
interstitially (i.e., they diffuse into the crystalline structure, locating themselves
inside the normal lattice work of the internal structure). Schematically, such
reactions can easily be described in terms of the generic reactions:
H2 + Material 6 2H@Material ,
(4a)
x
Hy + Material 6 xHy@Material ,
(4b)
3
3
H + Material 6 1 H @Material .
and
(4c)
1
Theoretically, however, the underlying mechanics are much more complex.
For example, of the generic reactions shown above, none are shown as being
reversible. From a chemical perspective, none of these reactions is technically
correct because, in most dissolution reactions, the solute that goes in can be
expected to be the same solute that comes out. From an operational
I-93


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