Sunday, 23 June 2013
Fancy some uranium?
Now, how about that uranium!
You can get hold of it really quite easily and better still it really does glow in the dark!
I'm actually talking about uranium oxide, not the metal itself. And you find it in some green glassware, were it gives a lovely minty colour. You might even have some at home without realising it.
Its easy to check if green glass contains uranium oxide because it fluoresces under UV light. Here's a bowl I bought for £5 under normal light and then under UV.
If you want to hunt some of this really cool (and slightly radioactive) glassware out then get yourself an ultra violet keyring torch and check out green glass you come across in carboot sales, charity shops and antique markets.
Fear not, uranium glass is safe. In fact when I ran a Geiger counter over this piece I couldn't measure anything above background radiation levels.
There may be a mild concern if you happen to have a large collection. But a small number of pieces is certainly nothing to worry about.
P.S. The ratio of uranium and oxygen in uranium oxides follows Fibonacci ratios i.e. U2O5, U3O8, U5O13, U8O21, U13O34 ! Anyone care to explain why?