February 03, 2023, 02:07:16 PM
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Topic: Just realized something about my element collection that's pretty sweet.  (Read 20476 times)

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Offline jdurg

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Having an element collection gives you a good idea on what the temperature is like outside.  You see, just slightly above comfortable your cesium will begin to melt.  So if your cesium is solid, then it's fairly nice out.  If your gallium begins to melt, then it's hot outside and air conditioning would be nice.  If your rubidium starts to melt, then it's hot as fu** outside and you need to cool off quick.  Today it was a slightly melted gallium kind of day.   ;D
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Offline Mitch

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lol, that observation would only be appreciated here. :)
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Corvettaholic

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About that element collection... how do you store everything and where do you keep it? Is that something you can stash in a pile of boxes in a garage? Just curious cause one day I want a collection too.

Offline jdurg

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I have a fairly large five-foot wide desk that my computer resides on in my room, and on the left hand side there is a cabinet area with a shelf in the middle.  I have my elements all stored in there except for bromine.  My bromine is stored in a crush-proof can surrounded by vermiculite in the corner of my closet so that if it escapes, it won't destroy my collection.  The cabinets are well vented, and I'll soon be putting an air-conditioner into my room to keep everything cool as well.  (Though I'm not worried about the gasses exploding since in order to seal off the ampoules they're in, they had to be heated to very high temperatures to melt the glass.  The air temperature here in New England will never get that high, so I don't have to worry about the gas pressure increasing to the point where the ampoules blow).  

I would NEVER store an element collection in a bunch of boxes in a garage.  It should be stored in a dry, somewhat climate controlled area and be very organized.  You would't want your alkali metals getting flooded with water, or your transition metals corroding away.  All my elements are in labelled borosilicate glass vials and very well organized in my cabinet.  Once I've got my own place, I plan on building a very nice wooden display cabinet and storing them in there.   ;D
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Limpet Chicken

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I'm gonna start an element collection myself ;D, jdurg, how do you keep your actinide elements? is leaded glass a good option? where can I pick up lead glass like that?

Maybe making a wooden box with ceramic lined compartments for each sample would work :)

Offline jdurg

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I do not posses any radioactive elements for multiple reasons.

1).  I like being fertile.  I don't need to be sterilized by constant exposure to radiation.
2).  I like being alive.  Having a bunch of radioactive metals in and around where you eat, sleep, and live is not a good idea.
3).  It is illegal to posses many radioactive elements.  If you attempt to buy any quantities of plutonium, for example, not only are you crazy but you can expect to spend many years in prison.
4).  Cost.  Radioactive elements are not cheap due to all the safety precautions and other procedures needed to purify them.
5).  Reactivity.  The last thing I want is to have some Uranium oxidize and flake off into my surrounding where I may accidentaly ingest some of it.  On the outside, uranium isn't too bad.  Internally, uranium is fairly lethal.
6).  Storage.  What good is an element if it's so nasty that it cannot be displayed?  Lead glass is incredibly expensive, and the shipping costs on it are nuts.  It would cost a good couple thousand dollars to get a nice lead glass container for your elements.
7).  Existance.  Many, many, many, many of the radioactive elements will only last for a short time before they have decayed into something else.  Do you really want to spend a lot of money on something that will decay into nothing in only a matter of a few years?  Also, with many of the radioactive elements if you had enough of it to see it, you'd be dead.  

So I do not posses any radioactive elements.  My collection is complete at Bismuth.  (Minus Tc and Pm).  The only "nuclear" elements you could possibly posses in a "pure" form are U-238 and Thorium.  Those can be purchased, but again, the radioactivity and reactivity of them makes them very expensive and very difficult to safely display in an element collection.   ;D
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Limpet Chicken

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You could probably get plutonium, by bombarding uranium powder with alpha radiation in an inert atmosphere so it didn't do its nasty pyrophoric thingy on you ;D

A safe enough sample of americium could be had from a smoke alarm,
tritium from bombarding 6Li with alpha rays,
you could get polonium I think, from bombarding bisthmuth with alpha radiation (again with the alpha...) first forming 210At then decaying into polonium.

Radium paint anyone?

I think promethium is used in certain special paints, but theyre not at all common, or cheap i guess :'(

Any idea about neptunium Jdurg? would alpha bombardment of 239 Pu do it?

I think it's still worth it to collect low halflife elements (within reason lol) such as 3H, just have to replace the samples every so often :D

I suppose you could safely keep your thorium and uranium if you treated them like alkali metals and kept them in sealed glass vials though, apparently thorium is about 2-5% or something in thoriated tungsten welding electrodes, easy to extract by dissolving the electrodes in H2O2, leaving ThO2 and reducing with Mg, Al, Li etc. ;D
« Last Edit: July 21, 2004, 05:36:35 PM by Limpet Chicken »

Offline jdurg

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You could probably get plutonium, by bombarding uranium powder with alpha radiation in an inert atmosphere so it didn't do its nasty pyrophoric thingy on you ;D

A safe enough sample of americium could be had from a smoke alarm,
tritium from bombarding 6Li with alpha rays,
you could get polonium I think, from bombarding bisthmuth with alpha radiation (again with the alpha...) first forming 210At then decaying into polonium.

Radium paint anyone?

I think promethium is used in certain special paints, but theyre not at all common, or cheap i guess :'(

Any idea about neptunium Jdurg? would alpha bombardment of 239 Pu do it?

I think it's still worth it to collect low halflife elements (within reason lol) such as 3H, just have to replace the samples every so often :D

I suppose you could safely keep your thorium and uranium if you treated them like alkali metals and kept them in sealed glass vials though, apparently thorium is about 2-5% or something in thoriated tungsten welding electrodes, easy to extract by dissolving the electrodes in H2O2, leaving ThO2 and reducing with Mg, Al, Li etc. ;D

If you were to try and attempt to synthesize any of the transuranic elements, you'll need a good lawyer to get you out of all the trouble you'll be in.  You need massive licenses for that stuff, and in many countries it's downright illegal.   :P  Thorium and Uranium can be obtained in displayable forms, but again, you'd have to spend a LOT of money to safely store and show them off.  

With the Americium, yeah there is some in every smoke detector out there, but it is a fantastically small amount.  (Only 0.9 MicroCuries per detector).  So while you can say that you have it, it's not really something you can display.  For me, the point in having an element collection is so that you can see and hold and feel the elements.  An element is really no good to me if you can't see it or hold it in your hand.  Or if the element is some tiny crystal or two in a sealed vial.  I want some size with my elements.   ;D  That's why I've got large samples of nearly evey element, and those which aren't as massive as I'd like are slowly being upgraded.  

So while you can go and get some of the shorter half-life elements, the legality of obtaining/making them is very questionable, and the amount of money needed to responsibly posses and show them off is astronomical.  (And a normal collection of the non-radioactive elements ain't cheap.  heh.  I must have spent close to three thousand dollars on my collection thus far.   :o)
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Limpet Chicken

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I wouldn't probably get caught if I were to do all the synthesis myelf though, but as for the Am, better have it than not eh ;D

What about neptunium, I have heard that there are nonradioactive isotopes of Np, is this right?
or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Offline jdurg

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I wouldn't probably get caught if I were to do all the synthesis myelf though, but as for the Am, better have it than not eh ;D

What about neptunium, I have heard that there are nonradioactive isotopes of Np, is this right?
or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

I think yer barking up the wrong tree.   :P  Bismuth is the last element with a stable isotope.  Anything past Bismuth has zero stable isotopes.  (Actually, even Bismuth isn't stable.  I think it was recently discovered that it actually has a half-life of a few billion, billion years.  lol).  
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Offline Mitch

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uranium is stable enough, you can usually find uranium as glazes in pottery from the 1950s.
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Offline jdurg

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uranium is stable enough, you can usually find uranium as glazes in pottery from the 1950s.

It's still radioactive though, and long term exposure to the radiation will give you cancer.  Plus, it's decay products are very unstable and emit high levels of radiation.  That's precisely why a sample of isotopically pure U-238 is MUCH safer to posses than unrefined Uranium or Uranium ore.  (Then again, that's like saying light cigarettes are healthier than regular cigarettes.  lol)  In the future, I may decide to acquire some U-238 once I can afford a good lead lined box with a lead-glass window on it.  Sadly, the cost of all that would be astronomically high.   :(
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Corvettaholic

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Isn't the U238 the weapons grade stuff? I thought there was no way you could legally possess that.

Limpet Chicken

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Uranium 235 would be the bomb grade stuff, just out of interest, the would the old hiroshima-type gun design nuke work for both uranium and plutonium> or is it specific to uranium?

Offline jdurg

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Uranium 235 would be the bomb grade stuff, just out of interest, the would the old hiroshima-type gun design nuke work for both uranium and plutonium> or is it specific to uranium?

The design is independent of the nuclear "fuel."  It will work for any fissionable material.  The object of a nuclear bomb is to take two subcritical masses and combine them into a solitary critical mass before the explosion blows everything apart.  You could use any fissionable material in the gun-type design and it would work with horrificly frightening results.  

Also, U-238 is not fissionable.  U-235 is the fissionable material used in weapons and power plants Corvette.  
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