The selective absorption and recovery of hydrogen isotopes in an inert gas at 400 °C and their desorption at 800 °C were experimentally investigated using a zirconium particle packed bed. The gases used were H2-Ar, D2-Ar and H2-D2-Ar mixtures. The absorption rates of the hydrogen isotopes were found to be fast enough for this absorption method to be used as a hydrogen recovery process in the fuel cycle of a fusion reactor. The length of the absorption zone for D2 in the zirconium bed is about twice that for H2. The hydrogen isotopes in the H2-D2-Ar mixture break through in the sequence D2, HD and H2. This is believed to be because the absorption rate and solubility of H2 are greater than those of D2. The experimental results for the desorption of hydrogen isotopes are described fairly well by Fick's diffusion equation for a zirconium particle.
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