"In 1953, E. Haeffner reported that when he had passed a direct electric current through a length of capillary filled with liquid mercury, the lighter mercury isotopes were enriched at the positive terminal and the heavier mercury isotopes were enriched at the negative terminal. This phenomenon is referred to as the Haeffner Effect. Since Haeffner’s original experiment, other investigators have obtained similar results in other liquid metal systems.
When a direct electric current passes through a metallic conductor a free energy gradient is established. The direction of the negative free energy gradient is in the direction of the positive terminal. In accordance with basic diffusion theory the metallic atoms will, therefore, migrate toward the positive terminal.
The diffusion rate of a specific isotopic species is proportional to the mean vibrational frequency of the atoms of that species. Since the mean vibrational frequency is inversely proportional to the square root of the mass of the oscillator, the rate of diffusion toward the positive terminal will be greater, the less the isotopic mass. As a result, there will be an enrichment of the light isotopes at the positive terminal and a corresponding enrichment of the heavy isotopes at the negative terminal"--Abstract, page ii.
Leighly, Hollis P., 1923-2004
Larson, Andrew H.
Pauls, Franklin B., 1911-1996
Stettler, John Dietrich
M.S. in Nuclear Engineering
Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy
vi, 38 pages
© 1962 David Charles Jacobs, All rights reserved.
Thesis - Open Access
Mercury -- Analysis
Mercury -- Isotopes
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Electronic OCLC #
Link to Catalog Record
Jacobs, David Charles, "A theoretical study of the mechanism for the Haeffner effect" (1962). Masters Theses. 2745.