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June 17 2011 6 17 /06 /June /2011 14:43

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Neon will be discussed here.

 

Neon is another noble gas. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It forms no known compounds. It is used in neon lamps. It is somewhat lighter than air, and it is much more expensive than air. It is one of the rarer noble gases.

 

In element form: Neon lamps have neon gas in them.

 

In compound form: N/A

 

Here is my sample of neon. It is a small neon indicator lamp. The quality of the picture is just poor, sorry.

 

Neon

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June 16 2011 5 16 /06 /June /2011 13:08

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Fluorine will be discussed here.

 

Fluorine is the most reactive element. It is an extremely powerful oxidizing agent. It is a yellow-brown toxic gas. Fluorides, its only set of chemical compounds, are much less reactive and are moderately toxic. Teflon contains fluoropolymers. Toothpastes and drinking water contain fluoride compounds.

 

In element form: No sources found.

 

In compound form: Calcium fluoride is found as fluorite, a common mineral. Most toothpastes contain fluorides. Whink rust remover is a dilute solution of hydrofluoric acid.

 

Here is my sample of fluorine. It is toothpaste containing about 0.3% sodium fluoride.

 

Fluorine.JPG

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June 15 2011 4 15 /06 /June /2011 13:07

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Oxygen will be discussed here.

 

Oxygen is a colorless, odorless gas. It supports combustion and is necessary to life. It is regenerated by all plants. Oxygen reacts with most elements. Oxides are widespread as minerals. Oxygen is the most abundant element in the earth's crust.

 

In element form: Electrolysis of water makes oxygen gas. Catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide produces oxygen. Oxygen is used in welding.

 

In compound form: Silicon dioxide has oxygen in it. Water and hydrogen peroxide do, too.

 

Here is my sample of oxygen gas. It was from a welding gas cylinder. I originally had oxygen from H2O2 decomposition, but the tube was not clear enough to see through. Any apparent coloration is the result of a dirty test tube.Oxygen.JPG

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June 14 2011 3 14 /06 /June /2011 13:23

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Nitrogen will be discussed here.

 

Nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, relatively inert gas. It reacts directly and easily with very few elements, lithium being the only metal that reacts with nitrogen at room temperature. Some other metals form nitrides when they burn in air, such as magnesium. Nitrogen forms a wide array of compounds. Ammonia is used in cleaning. All proteins contain amino acids, which contain nitrogen. Hydrazine is used as a rocket fuel. Sodium azide is used in airbags. Nitrous oxide is used in canned whipped cream. Nitrites are used to preserve food. Nitrates are used as oxidizers in pyrotechnics. Most explosives contain nitrogen compounds.

 

In element form: Heat ammonium dichromate. The corrosion of a metal in a test tube inverted in water consumes the oxygen, leaving mostly nitrogen behind.

 

In compound form: Nitrates are common fertilizers. Ammonia is one of the most common nitrogen compounds.

 

Here is my sample of nitrogen gas. It was created by the corrosion of steel wool in a test tube, absorbing oxygen and leaving 95% nitrogen behind.

 

Nitrogen.JPG

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June 13 2011 2 13 /06 /June /2011 14:14

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Carbon will be discussed here.

 

Carbon has several physical forms, or allotropes. Graphite is black, soft, electrically conductive solid. Diamond is a clear, hard, electrically insulating solid. There are other forms like carbon nanotubes and fullerenes that are interesting but too expensive for such a common element. Graphite is used in pencils and carbon-zinc batteries. Diamonds are used as abrasives and jewelry.

 

In element form: Obtain graphite from an art supply store. Buy an artificial diamond. Open a carbon-zinc cell and remove the carbon rod. Use the impure carbon in a pencil lead.

 

In compound form: All organic compounds contain carbon.

 

Here is my sample of carbon. It is composed of graphite rods from a carbon-zinc cell.

 

Carbon rods

 

 

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June 11 2011 7 11 /06 /June /2011 15:20

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Boron will be discussed here.

 

Boron is an element that exists in two forms. One is an extremely hard black crystalline substane. The other is a red amorphous powder. Both are slightly toxic. Boron is a semimetal that forms covalent compounds with the halogens. Boric acid is the only acid safe to put in one's eyes. Boranes can be used as fuels. Boron is difficult to extract and does not have many uses as an element.

 

In element form: Neodymium magnets have about 6% boron in them. This could be considered an alloy or a chemical compound, but it behaves more like a alloy than a chemical compound.

 

In compound form: Borax is made of sodium borate. Heat resistant glass is made of borosilicates. Boric acid is used in some insecticides and eye washes. Boron carbide is used in some bulletproof vests.

 

Here is my sample of boron. This brown boron powder, insoluble in hydrochloric acid, was made by dissolving a neodymium magnet in hydrochloric acid.

 

    Boron-powder.JPG

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June 10 2011 6 10 /06 /June /2011 13:26

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Beryllium will be discussed here.

 

Beryllium is an insanely light, strong, gray metal. It is the first alkaline earth metal. It has properties similar to aluminium, but it is much more expensive. Beryllium seems unreactive because it forms a protective oxide layer, similar to aluminium. It is very toxic when powdered and inhaled, and somewhat toxic when ingested. Its compounds are sweet, but do not eat them! I initially did not have any beryllium, but gave in and purchased a small piece of this expensive metal.

 

In element form: X-ray windows are made of pure beryllium foil. Some pieces of aircraft and other military equipment are also made of beryllium. 0.5% to 3% beryllium is used to harden copper in an alloy called beryllium copper. This alloy is used to make nonsparking tools. Some high-end speakers use beryllium or beryllium alloys.

 

In compound form: The safest form of beryllium is the mineral beryl, beryllium aluminium silicate.

 

This is my sample of beryllium. It is a 1.1 gram beryllium lump purchased from GalliumSource for $15.00 plus shipping.

 

    Beryllium (4)

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June 9 2011 5 09 /06 /June /2011 14:54

As I had stated in an earlier post, I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Lithium will be discussed here.

 

Lithium is a soft, malleable, gray alkali metal. It tarnishes to purple, then black, then white in air. It reacts with water, releasing lithium hydroxide solution, steam (from the heat of the reaction), and hydrogen gas. Lithium is the lightest metal, about half as dense as water. Lithium burns in air with a brilliant white flame, making lithium oxide, which produces a crimson flame color. Ltthium is the only alkali metal easily accessible by amateur chemists.

 

In element form: Lithium is found in Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries. These are difficult to open and easy to short circuit. Lithium is also found in the CR-xxxx series of coin cells. After peeling back the cathode, the manganese dioxide and the separator paper is removed, exposing a slice of lithium metal. Lithium can be preserved in petroleum jelly.

 

In compound form: Lithium reacts with water to make lithium hydroxide, which after exposure to air precipitates lithium carbonate if it is concentrated enough. Lithium ion batteries contain lithium compounds. Some piezocrystals are made of lithium niobate. Lithium grease is made from lithium stearate, a lithium soap.

 

This is one of my pieces of lithium. It is stored in a container of petroleum jelly. Since some oxygen is present in petroleum jelly, it has turned black. Below this is a picture of a lithium chunk that has been set out to oxidize. It has disintegrated into crumbly lithium carbonate.

 

Lithium-chunk--3-.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lithium-oxidation-2--2-.JPG

 

 

 

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June 8 2011 4 08 /06 /June /2011 12:47

As I had stated in an earlier post, I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Helium will be discussed here.

 

Helium, is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, nontoxic, nonflammable, nonreactive, light gas. (Enough properties?) It has the lowest melting point of any element. Helium is rare on the earth but is more common in the universe. Here are some of its sources (a clump of spent star is not included):

 

In element form: Helium is used in balloons. Helium is also used in welding.

 

In compound form: Helium does not form any stable compounds.

 

This is my sample of helium gas. It was filled by a tank of helium gas at a welding shop. It is stored in a plastic test tube.

 

Helium.JPG

 

 

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June 7 2011 3 07 /06 /June /2011 16:54

I have collected over 30 elements from household substances for less than 15 dollars. Many more elements are available as well, although I have not collected them personally. I have compiled a list of sources for all of the elements that can be obtained by the average person. Every day, I will post a different element. Today's element is hydrogen.

 

Hydrogen is a colorless odorless gas. It is nontoxic. It burns readily in air. It is the least dense substance. It is the most abundant element in the universe and is very common on the earth in the form of hydrogen compounds. Here are some of its sources:

 

In element form: The reaction of an active metal such as zinc with water creates hydrogen gas. Electrolysis of water with sodium bicarbonate electrolyte produces hydrogen gas at the cathode.

 

In compound form: Hydrocarbons, acids, bases, and water all contain hydrogen atoms.

 

This is my sample of hydrogen gas. It was generated by electrolysis of sodium bicarbonate solution with 12VDC. A carbon anode and carbon cathode were used. It is stored in a plastic test tube.

 

Hydrogen.JPG

 

 

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