Progress of Cryogenics and Isotopes Separation , ISSN: 1582-2575
2001, Volume 4, Issue 7+8

Model for the Simulation of Catalytic Isotope Exchange Between Tritiated Water and Hydrogen/Deuterium

Ioana R. Cristescu 1 , I. Cristescu 1 , Anisia Bornea 1 , R.-D. Penzhorn 2 , U. Tamm 3

1 Institute of Cryogenics & Isotopic Technologies, Rm. Valcea
2 Tritium Laboratory, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe
3 Institute for High Pulsed Power and Microwave Technology, FZK, Germany

*Corresponding author: Ion Cristescu, e-mail:

Published: October 2001


The objectives of the models presented in this paper are to simulate the deuterium enrichment performances of several catalytic exchange columns under test at the Tritium Laboratory in Karlsruhe (TLK). The models and the corresponding software are presently being verified by experiments aimed to provide the data required for the design of large isotopic exchange columns such as needed for the recovery of tritium from waste water generated during the operation of the tritium facilities of fusion machines.

In the ongoing TLK experiments the transfer of deuterium takes place in a counter current isotopic exchange column. Pre-heated water is fed into the column from the top and deuterated hydrogen from the bottom. Condensed water vapor and deuterium-depleted hydrogen are removed from the top and deuterium enriched water from the bottom and analyzed by standard procedures.

To describe the performance of the separation process two approaches were considered:

  • a graphical approach (classical) that uses the operating line and equilibrium curve for the process and
  • an analytical approach that solves the transport equations characterizing the isotopic exchange process.


Catalytic isotopic exchange, transfer coefficients, equilibrium constants, deuterium.

Tag search Catalytic isotopic exchange transfer coefficients equilibrium constants deuterium