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The isotopic abundance of naturally occurring hydrogen is as follows:
1H 99.985 atom %
2H 0.015 atom%

When H2 gas is formed from naturally occurring hydrogen, what percentages of the molecules have molecular weights of approximately 2, 3 and 4?

  • Chemistry -

    Compare to the tossing two coins.
    P(Head ∩ Head) = P(Head) × P(Head) = 1/4
    P(Head ∩ Tail) = 2 × P(Head) × P(Tail) = 1/2
    P(Tail ∩ Tail) = P(Tail) × P(Tail) = 1/4

    (Note that there are two ways to toss a head and a tail.)

    The formation of hydrogen molecules from abundant hydrogen atoms is analogous, although there is a rather heavy bias against deuterium.


    P(1,1H2) = P(1H)×P(1H)
    = 0.99985 × 99.985 %

    P(1,2H2) = 2×P(1H)×P(2H)
    = 2 × 0.99985 × 0.015 %

    P(2,2H2) = P(2H)×P(2H)
    = 0.00015 × 0.015 %

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