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Thread: Element Collecting

  1. #1
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    Element Collecting


  2. #2
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    I periodically tried element collecting. Distilling bromine was fun, but it doesn't keep well, except in a sealed glass ampule... kept evaporating and eating stoppers out of anything I tried keeping it in (made a dandy aluminum etchant, though a bit too agressive). Still have some: lead, gold, platinum, silicon (seed crystal), tungsten, magnesium, carbon, sulfur, mercury, iron, nickel, copper, zinc, silver, tin, iodine (tends to slowly sublime and the fumes help corrode nearby metallic objects), polonium (if you count the tiny bit of Po 210 in my anti-static brush), cerium and lanthanum (mischmetal alloy). But some of them I only have in compound form like uranium, chromium, manganese, titanium, boron, lithium, sodium, potassium, strontium etc. but have never bothered to purify to elemental form, except for sodium and chlorine, neither of which keep well either). Have a few germanium diodes and old selenium rectifiers, but like the polonium, they are part of a manufactured product.

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    I prefer making compounds out of elements, preferrably employing the use of potato guns.

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    Opps- just fixed up the brocken images. The pages look a lot better now.

    I've only got two samples so far carbon and sulphur...

  5. #5
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    Just add saltpetre and you can have lots of fun!

    (Just kidding. Don't do this at home, kids!)

  6. 2006-Oct-28, 01:10 PM

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    The Houston Museum of Natural History has a periodic table containing all the elements. They actually have a very nice mineral collection too.

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    I've never bothered collecting elements, but I have used a few at work. The most interesting ones were lithium (it floats in oil, and I had to keep it under an Argon atmosphere), argon (for storage under inert gas) and mercury. A bottle of elemental mercury is surprisingly heavy (I know it is a heavy metal, but your intuition does not anticipate a bottle of liquid weighing so much!). I've also used elemental nickel as a hydrogenation catalyst (in the form of Raney nickel). This was rather entertaining, because it was a bit flammable, and would sometimes burst spontaneously into flame, especially if it was exposed to a good flow of air (like in fume cupboard).

    I do more often use compounds, some of which are fun (e.g. Cobolt III chloride and Nickel II sulphate are very pretty colours, as is chromic acid - it's just a shame these things are so dangerous).

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    You can also buy such things as gifts.

    For example:
    http://www.element-collection.com/index.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Nigel View Post
    I've never bothered collecting elements, but I have used a few at work. The most interesting ones were lithium (it floats in oil, and I had to keep it under an Argon atmosphere), argon (for storage under inert gas) and mercury. A bottle of elemental mercury is surprisingly heavy (I know it is a heavy metal, but your intuition does not anticipate a bottle of liquid weighing so much!). I've also used elemental nickel as a hydrogenation catalyst (in the form of Raney nickel). This was rather entertaining, because it was a bit flammable, and would sometimes burst spontaneously into flame, especially if it was exposed to a good flow of air (like in fume cupboard).

    I do more often use compounds, some of which are fun (e.g. Cobolt III chloride and Nickel II sulphate are very pretty colours, as is chromic acid - it's just a shame these things are so dangerous).
    Lucky!

    Sounds like you have a fun job

    I've just ordered some tungston(as dense as gold) and lithium(lightest metal) from ebay. I'm not sure how I'm going to store the lithium...

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Nigel View Post
    You can also buy such things as gifts.

    For example:
    http://www.element-collection.com/index.html
    Yeah- they're expensive though...

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    Mercury's fun, my father has a jar of mercury, it is quite heavy, and if you have some you can float nails and stuff on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555 View Post
    Lucky!

    Sounds like you have a fun job

    I've just ordered some tungston(as dense as gold) and lithium(lightest metal) from ebay. I'm not sure how I'm going to store the lithium...
    In oil, Naptha, or a liquid hydrocarbon.

    Coleman stove fuel is Naptha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    In oil, Naptha, or a liquid hydrocarbon.

    Coleman stove fuel is Naptha.
    Lithium tends to float on oil (although that is better by far than storing it dry), so is still exposed to the air. If you can keep it under nitrogen, that would be best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frog march View Post
    Mercury's fun, my father has a jar of mercury, it is quite heavy, and if you have some you can float nails and stuff on it.
    Aaaargh! Keep that bottle tightly sealed. Seriously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555 View Post
    Lucky!

    Sounds like you have a fun job
    Well, it's sometimes fun. To be honest, though, arranging for proper disposal of the waste nickel salts is a pain in the posterior. If I chuck it down the sink, we'll be closed down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Nigel View Post
    Lithium tends to float on oil (although that is better by far than storing it dry), so is still exposed to the air. If you can keep it under nitrogen, that would be best.
    If I wrap if in paper towls soaked in oil then stick in in a jar full of oil?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555 View Post
    If I wrap if in paper towls soaked in oil then stick in in a jar full of oil?
    That'll probably do the trick. I expect you will still get some surface reaction (lithium hydroxide, formed from reaction with moisture in the air) but this will be slow (i.e. it will take place in days rather than seconds so will not be hazardous). The reaction of lithium with water is not as violent as that of other elements from group 1 (e.g. sodium, potassium, rubidium).

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    I've used pure chlorine gas many times back in my chemistry days -- very dangerous stuff. If collecting it only have a tiny, tiny sample in an airtight glass container. I assume Fluorine gas is even worse to handle.

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    If you hear eveyone boasting about how they are going to bring their uranium sample to the element collector convention, I can't stress enough don't go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    If you hear eveyone boasting about how they are going to bring their uranium sample to the element collector convention, I can't stress enough don't go.
    BOOM!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriangleMan View Post
    I've used pure chlorine gas many times back in my chemistry days -- very dangerous stuff. If collecting it only have a tiny, tiny sample in an airtight glass container. I assume Fluorine gas is even worse to handle.
    Well, I've never used Fluorine gas, but since HF (which I have used as a dilute solution) is used to etch / dissolve glass, I would not fancy my chances keeping F2 gas in a glass container. I would imagine that PTFE is probably the best material to use to contain F2 gas.

    And, by the way, I found the HF quite scary to use.

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    Fluorine is going to be one of the hardest... Apparently doing some weird things to quartz is the only way you can keep in in a transparent container...

    Btw- I've added solid sulphur to my list.

  24. #23
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    Two african and one Indian is enough of a collection for me

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    ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555 View Post
    Fluorine is going to be one of the hardest... Apparently doing some weird things to quartz is the only way you can keep in in a transparent container...

    Btw- I've added solid sulphur to my list.
    No - fluorine will react with quartz or silica glass. Fluorine gas is very nasty stuff, I would not suggest casually collecting it. Collect it as a compound, such as the mineral fluorite (calcium fluoride).
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  27. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    No - fluorine will react with quartz or silica glass. Fluorine gas is very nasty stuff, I would not suggest casually collecting it. Collect it as a compound, such as the mineral fluorite (calcium fluoride).
    http://www.theodoregray.com/Periodic...index.s12.html

    Sadly the guy doesn't sell it anymore- but telflon is 75% fluorine by weight, that'll have to do for now I suppose...

  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriangleMan View Post
    I've used pure chlorine gas many times back in my chemistry days -- very dangerous stuff. If collecting it only have a tiny, tiny sample in an airtight glass container. I assume Fluorine gas is even worse to handle.
    I saw a very cool, but somewhat dangerous demonstration in freshman chemistry (1976). The professor had a big (~0.5 meter high) bell filled with chlorine gas. It was a very light greenish-yellow. He then very quickly lifted the edge of the bell jar and tossed a piece of sodium metal in the bottom. You could see the wave front of the reaction move up the jar, converting the pale yellow gas to a snow storm of sodium chloride crystals. The class actually went "ooohhh!!". Then the prof says, "who wants to try it some of the salt?". No one volunteered, so he lifted the bell jar, swipped his wet finger through the cloud of salt, licked his finger, and ran out of the room (about as quickly as you are reading this). We all sat there wondering what was up, till the wave of un-reacted chlorine gas hit us about 10 seconds latter, and we all went running out too.
    Last edited by Swift; 2006-Oct-30 at 06:10 PM.
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  29. #28
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    My wife collects carbon, gold, and silver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhredshift View Post
    My wife collects carbon, gold, and silver.
    her rocks don't loose their shape....?





    actually diamonds have a coating of hydrogen on their surface so I guess she collects that element also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555 View Post
    ??
    I think Casus_belli meant elephants...

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