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March 22 2012 5 22 /03 /March /2012 13:12

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

 

Strontium is a relatively soft, gray alkaline earth metal. It is highly reactive and must be stored under oil to prevent reaction with air. Strontium can replace calcium in bones, making radioactive strontium particularly dangerous to the bones. However, stable strontium is harmless. Strontium is very similar to calcium, with a slightly soluble oxide and colorless divalent compounds. Strontium compounds have a bright red flame when heated, making them useful for pyrotechnics.

 

In element form: No sources found.

 

In compound form: Strontium oxide is used in old CRT screens to absorb the radiation (lead cannot be used in the front of the tube because it darkens). Ceramic magnets are made of sintered strontium ferrite, as well as most ferrite cores. A few toothpastes contain strontium chloride. Flares and red fireworks often contain strontium.

 

Here is my sample of strontium. It is a ferrite core used to absorb electromagnetic inconsistencies.

 

Strontium.JPG

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March 21 2012 4 21 /03 /March /2012 12:36

Rubidium does not have any household sources. Purchasing it can be extremely expensive, and it is similar to caesium, which has some household sources, making purchase sort of repetitious. Of course, if you are buying it for an element collection, you can buy it here: Metallium $110 for 1 g of 99%, $50 for 0.2 g of 99% GalliumSource $140 for 1 g of 99.5% RGB $45 for 0.1 g 99.5%, $70 for 1 g 99.5% (plus Hazmat shipping) or ebay.

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March 19 2012 2 19 /03 /March /2012 14:51

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

 

Krypton, like all other noble gases, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. It is quite heavy and quite inert, but does form a few compounds. Krypton is much rarer in the atmosphere, from which it is extracted by distillation. Therefore, it is much more expensive. Krypton produces a gray-green light when introduced into an electric arc.

 

In element form: Krypton is used in many flashlight bulbs.

 

In compound form: No sources found.

 

Here is my sample of krypton. It is a couple of flashlight bulbs.

 

Krypton.JPG

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March 17 2012 7 17 /03 /March /2012 15:21

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

 

Bromine is a dark red liquid, one of the two elements liquid at STP on the periodic table. Bromine is a highly reactive member of the halogen group. For example, aluminium reacts violently with bromine when placed in it. Bromine has a high vapor pressure and will quickly evaporate. Bromides are similar to chlorides, although more easily oxidized. Bromine dissolves in water to form a red solution. Bromine forms a series of oxyanions which are strong oxidizers and somewhat toxic. Bromates were used to treat flour before they were banned or discouraged in many places. Bromine is easily extracted from bromide by reaction with concentrated sulfuric acid.

 

In element form: Sodium bromide reacts with sulfuric acid to make bromine vapor and liquid. It needs to be distilled in all-glass apparatus. Bromine water, still corrosive but much safer, can be made in an impure form by reacting a mixture of sodium bromide, sodium hypochlorite, and hydrochloric acid.

 

In compound form: Sodium bromide is used as a bromide reserve in spas and pools and can be cheaply bought.

 

Here is my sample of bromine. It is a clear plastic vial of bromine water, which later gets cloudy and corroded.

 

Bromine-water.JPG

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March 16 2012 6 16 /03 /March /2012 15:43

 
Interesting properties of titanium include its flammability and relatively low conductivity. Therefore, electrical current can easily provide the heat necessary to ignite titanium. A thin strip (0.5 mm) of titanium foil easily ignites when applied to a nine volt battery, for example. Since titanium has the strength of steel, this strip is not fragile and can be bent to form interesting shapes, which are followed by the flame. For example, it can be shaped into letters and placed on a piece of wood. When a switch is thrown, the titanium ignites at one end (hopefully, if it is cut to the correct thickness) and someone's name, for instance, is traced out by the flame. It can also be used as a fuse as well, where the thinnest part near the top electrode is ignited and the titanium burns down the wire.
 
Here is a YouTube video of the burning.
 
 
I also tried cutting a thin strip of niobium and connecting it to a nine volt battery. Despite its similar thickness and resistivity, the niobium did not burn. Instead, the niobium became red hot when current was applied. This shows that titanium is more flammable and susceptible to oxidation than niobium.
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March 16 2012 6 16 /03 /March /2012 15:38

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

 

Selenium, like most nonmetals, is quite a unique and interesting element. Selenium is necessary in small quantities in the human body, but toxic in larger amounts. The element itself has three forms: a glassy, black, nonmetallic form; a red, powdery, nonmetallic form; and a gray, malleable, semimetallic form. This gray form is the most useful and the most common form of selenium. Selenium has the interesting property of changing its conductivity upon exposure to light. Therefore, it was used in the first photodetectors (cadmium sulfide is used now). Selenium forms a highly toxic and smelly dioxide which is the primary selenium compound. Selenium forms binary molecular compounds as well as anionic covalent complexes like selenite and selenate. Selenides replace a small amount of sulfide in many ores, making selenium a common byproduct in processes like copper production.

 

In element form: Selenium rectifiers contain a thin layer of selenium metal, as well as old photocopier machines and light meters.

 

In compound form: Selenium sulfide is used in Selsun Blue shampoo. Organic selenium complexes, as well as the inorganic selenites and selenates, are both used in selenium vitamin supplements. Selenium toners contain sodium selenite.

 

I do not have any verifiable elemental selenium. I do have a few specks that precipitated out when some selenium vitamin supplement slurry was electrolyzed, but of course they are not selenium. I plan to purchase pure elemental selenium in the near future, after which this page will be updated.

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March 15 2012 5 15 /03 /March /2012 14:48

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

 

Arsenic is a highly toxic metalloid that comes in several allotropes. The nonmetallic forms of arsenic are least stable, such as yellow arsenic, while the common metallic gray arsenic predominates. Gray arsenic is a dull solid. When heated in air, it burns to the trioxide. Arsenic dissolves in nitric acid to form the oxide as well. Arsenic is found in a wide range of minerals, and is almost always extracted as a byproduct. For example, arsenopyrite is iron arsenide sulfide. When this is roasted, both arsenic and sulfur oxides are produced. Arsenic was a common poison until an extremely sensitive test called the Marsh test was developed for it. This produces the gas arsine (AsH3) from arsenic-containing materials and later deposits the arsenic on a glass tube. Even a tiny trace of arsenic will produce a notable coloration on the glass surface.

 

In element form: Lead wheel weights for cars contain about 1/4% arsenic.

 

In compound form: Old treated wood contains Chromated Copper Arsenate as the treatment chemical. Infrared LEDs contain gallium arsenide as the semiconductor. High frequency microwave circuits may use gallium arsenide components. Chicken meat also can contain arsenic in the form of roxarsone.

 

Here is my sample of arsenic. It is one of innumerable lead wheel weights that are continually leaching into the environment from road abrasion after being loosened from vehicle tires.

 

Wheel-weight.png

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March 14 2012 4 14 /03 /March /2012 17:17

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

 

Germanium is a hard, inert, and brittle metalloid from Group 14 on the periodic table. Germanium has properties intermediate between tin and silicon. In the early days of electronics, germanium was the primary semiconducting material because purity is not essential for it to work. Silicon, because of its great abundance, has since superseded germanium in almost all electronics applications. Germanium forms quadrivalent covalent compounds with very low boiling points. Germanium can be used as a nutritional supplement but this use is questionable. Germanium dioxide is a white amphoteric solid that can dissolve in both acids and bases.

 

In element form: Germanium windows were used for motion sensors in the past. Germanium diodes are still found in old electronics equipment.

 

In compound form: Germanium compounds are used in the phosphors for mercury vapor lamps. Germanium dioxide is used in fiber optic cables.

 

Here is my sample of germanium, small germanium crystals from old diodes.

 

Germanium-diodes.png

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March 13 2012 3 13 /03 /March /2012 14:08

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

 

Gallium is a soft, low-melting metal. It can even melt in the human hand. Gallium is found beneath aluminium on the periodic table. It is silvery gray, just like most metals. Gallium forms colorless trivalent compounds, similar to aluminium. Gallium is moderately reactive and will dissolve slowly in hydrochloric acid, as well as in strong bases. Gallium forms an alloy with indium and tin that is a liquid at room temperature. This alloy is known as galinstan. Gallium is generally found in small quantities in zinc ores. It forms brittle alloys with zinc, aluminium, and many other metals. Because of this, gallium is classified as a corrosive and is expensive to ship legally.

 

In element form: Galinstan, an alloy of gallium, indium, and tin, is found in Geratherm mercury-free thermometers.

 

In compound form: Gallium arsenide is used in high-frequency transistors and ICs, as well as in infrared LEDs. Most other LEDs use gallium compounds in some form or another. The inside of the glass bulb on a galinstan thermometer is coated with gallium oxide to prevent the galinstan from sticking.

 

Here is my sample of gallium. It is a galinstan splat from a galinstan thermometer. I normally store galinstan under water to prevent it from sticking, but it gets a surface oxide coating under water, making it look dull and shapeless. This galinstan was photographed shortly after removing it from the thermometer.

 

Galinstan.JPG

 

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March 12 2012 2 12 /03 /March /2012 14:41

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

 

Zinc is a relatively soft, bluish colored metal from Group 12. It is sometimes considered a transition metal and sometimes a post-transition metal. Zinc is a relatively cheap and common metal with strong reducing properties. It is used to protect other metals from oxidation by oxidizing in their place, either as an outer coating or a separate chunk known as a sacrificial electrode. Zinc compounds are colorless and boring. Zinc's reaction with hydrochloric acid is well known. Zinc will react with many metal salts, precipitating the metal and forming a zinc salt. Therefore, zinc's biggest use in home chemistry is a reducing agent.

 

In element form: Brass has about 30% zinc in it. The casings of carbon-zinc batteries are pure zinc metal. Alkaline batteries contain zinc powder in their centers when fresh. Sacrificial anodes for boats are often made of zinc.

 

In compound form: Zinc oxide is a common white pigment. Zinc sulfide is used in glow-in-the-dark materials.

 

Here is my sample of zinc metal. It is a piece of zinc from a battery casing. The inside is kind of corroded, even in fresh batteries. The casing gets thinner as the battery gets depleted.

 

Zinc-sheet-3.1-g.png

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