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Making radioactive uranium glass

Making radioactive uranium glass
this video has been sponsored by brilliant sometime last year was the first time that I heard about

uranium

glass

and I thought that it was some marketing thing or something but it's actually real I mean it's not

glass

made entirely out of

uranium

but it is

glass

with

uranium

in it this got me really interested in it and I decided to buy some and I got this cup of it off ebay pure

uranium

glass

is normally yellow but this one is green and I think it's because they put some iron into
making radioactive uranium glass
it regardless of that though that's not really what makes

uranium

glass

special and it's what it looks like under a blacklight the

uranium

in it fluoresce is and it makes this really nice green color the actual amount of

uranium

in it though is quite small so the

glass

itself is only minorly

radioactive

general

glass

wearing cups like this were super popular in the late 1800s and the early 1900s however during World War two the government started confiscating all the

uranium

and
diverting it to nuclear research this kind of killed the entire industry for

uranium

glass

until the late 50s when some restrictions on

uranium

were lifted a few companies started

making

it again but at that point the health effects of radiation were a lot more well known and also after the nuclear bombs the public perception of

uranium

wasn't exactly great nowadays there are apparently still a few companies that make it but I wasn't able to find any of it for sale as far as I know if
you want to get some

uranium

glass

you really can only buy the old stuff I found this all really interesting and I've been wanting to work with

uranium

for a while so I decided to make some

uranium

glass

my original plan was to buy some

uranium

ore and then refine it and use that purified

uranium

to put into some

glass

however I learned from Cody over at Cody's lab that the government doesn't really like it when you show how to refine

uranium

on the internet instead I had to start
with an already purified source and I was able to find some depleted

uranium

this means that it's missing the isotope to do things like generate nuclear power or make nuclear weapons however it's still good for

making

glass

you nitrate is the nitrate salt of

uranium

and when it's pure it can form these nice yellow crystals besides just kind of looking pretty though it seems relatively mundane and that's something that I've always found interesting about radiation as this
urinal nitrate just sits there it's shooting off thousands of extremely small particles but they're way too small to see or to feel so there's no way to naturally perceive that it's there and this was one of the biggest reasons why it took so long to discover radiation to know that it's there it has to be detected using some sort of instrument or set up and over the years many different methods have been developed nowadays one of the easiest ways is to just use a Geiger
counter but before starting this project I didn't have one however when working with something

radioactive

like

uranium

it's pretty much absolutely necessary so I looked around online and I ended up getting this one off Amazon which wasn't very expensive but it was supposed to be decent I turned it on and I let it stabilize for a minute and they saw that the natural background radiation was about fifteen CPM CPM stands for counts per minute and it's a reading of how many

radioactive

particles it detects over a minute radiation exists everywhere in the environment and you're always being bombarded by it naturally and this reading of 15 CPM is actually quite low now it was time to test it with the

uranium

so I just put it next to it there was clearly an effect at this Geiger counter was gonna be more than usable for this project but it unfortunately wasn't gonna be super accurate this was because most of the radiation that's let off by

uranium

is in
the form of something called alpha particles and this counters not even able to detect them it's only able to pick up the beta and the gamma rays that it's letting off which are significantly less than the Alpha despite this though it's still gonna be really useful because I don't actually need a super accurate reading I just have to know whether or not it's there now before hitting started I just wanted to try one other thing urinal nitrate was supposed to be fluorescent
under UV I put some on a dish turned off the lights and shot it with my blacklight and well it was definitely fluorescent this made me think that maybe to make the

uranium

glass

I could just directly throw the urinal nitrate into some molten

glass

however when I looked it up it didn't seem like that was the case I mean I could barely find anything about

making

uranium

glass

in general but out of all the info that I did find it always mentioned using something called sodium dye your innate
based on this and considering the fact that I never made

uranium

glass

before I figured that it was probably best for me to use that as well now though this meant that the project was gonna be a bit more fun because I'd have to do some

uranium

chemistry to convert the urinal nitrate into the sodium dye your innate to get this started I had to add the urinal nitrate to a beaker and normally I would have just quickly waited out on some paper and then dumped it in however this time I was
working with a

uranium

compound so I had to be a lot more careful this is because the dust etiquette LED off is not only

radioactive

it's also toxic and it can lead to heavy metal poisoning so to be as safe as possible I carefully weight everything directly in the beaker and in total I used about 15 grams then on top of this I dropped in a magnetic stir bar and I poured in some water which should have been enough to dissolve all of the urinal nitrate I turned on the stirring and I waited for
it all to disappear but unfortunately it ended up staying a little bit cloudy I tried adding some more water just in case there wasn't enough but it didn't seem to do very much this was unfortunate because it now meant that I had to clean things up a bit and I didn't really want to have to work with a solution of

uranium

thankfully however cleaning it up wasn't exactly gonna be super difficult and I just had to do a quick filtration I did this by passing it through some cotton
and some sea light which is kind of like superfine sand the stuff that initially passes through tends to still be a bit cloudy so I let it run for a bit and then I swapped it out for a new beaker put the other stuff through it again after this it was perfectly nice and clear but there was still a bunch of

uranium

solution all over the funnel and in the cotton and sea light so I washed it out with a bit of water when all the water had eventually passed through I took away the funnel and the
solution was pretty much good to go now to convert this to the sodium die your innate I had to react it with something called sodium hydroxide this is also known as lye and it's often sold as drain cleaner and that's where I get all mine from for this reaction it also all had to be dissolved into water but the exact concentration of it didn't really matter I figured that something around 30 percent by weight would probably be good so I measured out about 70 mils of water and dumped
in roughly 30 grams it all dissolves relatively easily into water but it also generates a lot of heat so in the end the solution is usually pretty hot however I wanted it to be closer to room temperature or maybe just slightly warm so I put it in the fridge to cool it down when I felt that it was good I took it out of the fridge and I started slowly adding it to the urinal nitrate almost immediately it started forming these weird solid kind of donut looking things and this was all sodium dire
making radioactive uranium glass
and the reason this happened was because unlike the urinal nitrate and the sodium hydroxide the sodium durin 8 is practically insoluble in water so the moment that it formed it separated out what I had to do now is basically just keep adding the sodium hydroxide until it stopped

making

the DNA at this point it was still pretty simple because the solution was nice and clear and it was really obvious to see however I eventually started stirring it and the whole thing got a bit murky so I
couldn't just rely on looking at it instead to know when it was done I had to keep testing the pH I did this just using some cheap pH papers and I kept that in the hydroxide until it turned blue which told me that the pH was about 10 after this I just let it sit there for a bit to make sure that it all fully reacted and then I filtered it off I just did this by pouring it through a simple coffee filter and when most of the water had passed through I washed it a few times with distilled water
I then let it sit there until all that water passed through as well and now I had some relatively clean sodium Dyer innate it was all still wet and goopy though and I'd have to dry it out but it was gonna take forever just sitting here in the strainer with other chemicals I usually just set up a fan on the side to help speed things up but that would probably end up shooting a small amount of dust into the air and I didn't really feel comfortable doing that with

uranium

so instead I
carefully took out the coffee filter and I put it in a bowl and I pulled a vacuum on it under a vacuum water vaporises a lot more and this makes it dry a lot faster in a closed space though like in this vacuum chamber there's nowhere for the water vapour to go so to fix this problem I included a bunch of drying salt at the bottom which would constantly pick up the water vapor I pulled it out about five hours later and it was mostly dry I purposely didn't let it dry completely because I
wanted to avoid as much dust as I could by keeping it slightly wet and a bit pasty I was able to pretty safely scrape it all off without

making

any death clouds also besides the safety issue I was worried that if I let it dry completely that it would just stick to the paper and become impossible to separate I was able to get almost all of it and put it into a small bottle but there was still some stuck to the paper getting this last bit was a lot sloppier than I wanted it to be but I didn't
really have any other alternative I just did my best to scrape it all off and then everything that even remotely came into contact with the

uranium

was put into a special waste container everything that I took off was transferred to the same small bottle and I did it as carefully as I could but it was still a bit messy there was a bit of

uranium

that managed to get on the outside of the bottle and I of course had to clean that up and I did this by just wiping it down a few times with some wet
paper towel now with all the

uranium

safely in the bottle and none of it on the outside to poison me when I touched it I was ready to finish drying it to do this I put it into the same vacuum chamber that I used earlier and I pulled a really strong vacuum on it I wanted it to be as absolutely dry as possible so I left it in there for three or four days so I came back to it a few days later we pressurized the chamber and took it out and well it worked it was really dry when it's dry like this
though it has a tendency to give off dust and powder which is obviously really horrible debris then this was why I only dried it completely in the final container that I was storing it in so I wouldn't have to move it around or handle it I went ahead and weighed what I had here and it came out to be 9 grams which was about what I expected just for fun I decided to test it with the Geiger counter and you can see that the

glass

was able to block most of the radiation the reading that it had
was only barely above the normal background level but that totally changed when I moved it over the top the reason this happened was that most of the radiation that was being let off here was in the form of alpha and beta particles and they just couldn't make it through the

glass

as I mentioned before though this counter isn't able to pick up alpha particles in general so what I was seeing here was probably mostly from beta particles now one other thing that I wanted to try was to shoot
UV on it and I was surprised that it didn't floor ass I mean maybe it was fluorescing and it was just super weak but as far as I could tell it was pretty dead I thought this was really interesting because logically you'd assume that if you wanted to make

glass

fluoresce you'd put something fluorescent in it however I guess that just isn't the case and

glass

chemistry is a bit more complicated than I thought but anyway now that I had the sodium dye your innate I could start trying
to make the

glass

however I'd never made

glass

before so I kind of had no idea how to do it I looked around online and one of the best things that I found was a video by Ben who runs the channel applied science he gave a lot of good details and tips and almost everything that I'll be doing here is based on stuff that I learned from him I also got a few tips from Andy who runs the channel called how to make everything when it comes to

making

glass

it's not super straightforward and
there are a lot of different ingredients that can be used for beginners though bettan just recommended to use a mixture of three different things silica sodium carbonate and boric acid so that's what I went with and all these ingredients were really easy to get and I just ordered them all from Amazon I then got a jar I did 60 grams of each and shook it up to mix it a bit like this it would probably work to make

glass

but in my opinion the powder was still too chunky so to fix this I put it
all into a blender and I ran it for a few minutes this apparently worked pretty well and after this it was a super fine powder and it kind of looked like flour this was definitely way better than before and I hoped that it would give me a better quality

glass

before adding any

uranium

to it though it was a good idea to test it to make sure that it worked I had also never made

glass

before and it was probably a good idea to get at least some experience

making

it before trying it with

uranium

in
it the general idea behind

making

glass

was very simple and all I had to do was melt this powder so I added a bunch of it to this dish that I had which was normally used to melt things like gold and I put it into a small furnace by the fact that it was glowing orange it was obviously pretty hot and I had set it to around 1100 C I wasn't completely sure that this would be hot enough to melt it but when I checked on it a few minutes later it looked like it was working and now because there was
more space in the dish I decided to add some more

glass

at this high temperature the sodium carbonate was mostly just melting but the boric acid was breaking down into boron trioxide and water vapor this caused it to bubble a bit and you can see this if you look really closely the main purpose of these chemicals though was that they both have much lower melting points than silica and they help lower the overall melting point of the mixture pure silica only starts melting around 1700 CE but at
making radioactive uranium glass
that point it's still way too thick to work with and you have to get it well mm getting the temperature this high is just very hard in general and because of this additives are almost always included to lower the melting point in my case because I used boron trioxide the final result would be some sort of borosilicate

glass

in general borosilicate

glass

is a lot less sensitive to big changes in temperature and I hoped that this would help prevent the

glass

from cracking as it cooled down but
anyway I let it sit like this for about 30 minutes and I waited for it to completely liquify when it eventually looked like it was about ready I used to blowtorch to preheat a graphite square then I carefully got the dish from the furnace and I poured out all the

glass

I let it cool over the next 15 or 20 minutes and it looked pretty decent it looked like just a regular piece of

glass

and I was actually pretty proud of it I really thought that it would crack but apparently it didn't and I
was still a bit skeptical of it so I left it overnight to see if anything would change and by the next day it was still totally fine as far as I could tell this

glass

mixture worked pretty well and the process seemed to be relatively simple after doing it just once I was definitely by no means a pro at

making

glass

but I felt that I was ready to get the

uranium

involved to do this I just had to add some

uranium

to the

glass

mix but it was still a bit too chunky if I added it like this it
wouldn't mix in properly and it would make some really uneven

glass

so far I had really done my best to avoid working with any powdered

uranium

but unfortunately I didn't really have a choice here I just did my best to grind it very carefully and to try to make as little dust as possible when I was done I put it all back into the bottle and everything that came into contact with the

uranium

was put into my waste container now to actually add it to the

glass

mix the amount of

uranium

that
I needed was super small however I didn't know exactly how much I had to add because from what I found online some recipes use as low as 0.1 percent

uranium

and some as high as 3% this concentration was all done by weight and I decided to go with a moderate 0.25 percent I figured that this way if the final

glass

didn't glow well I could just add some more at 0.25 percent though barely any was needed and for what I had here I only had to add point 4 grams to mix it in I shook it around
for several minutes and when I was done it looked the same as it was before the

uranium

as far as I could tell it was still really white and I guess there just wasn't enough of it to noticeably change the color the dish from before was already in the furnace and I started loading it up with some spoonfuls I waited for this all to melt and then I added some more and I left it there for about half an hour also as a point of safety this was all being done in my fume hood just in case it let off
any

uranium

fumes in reality there probably wasn't much or any of it but it was obviously something that I had to be very careful with when I checked on it and it looked ready I preheated that graphite block again then I took out the dish and I poured out what was hopefully

uranium

glass

while it was still red-hot it was hard to tell but as it cooled it was definitely colored this time it also shrank a bit and when I felt that it was solid enough to move I picked it up and put it on some

glass

insulation with a white background the color was a lot easier to see and it was a really nice and bright yellow this was exactly what I was hoping it would look like and so far things seem to be going pretty well now the next thing to do was to test and see if it was fluorescent so I got up my UV lamp turned it on and I mean it was kind of working the

glass

was definitely a bit green but it wasn't very impressive to say the least my first assumption from this was at 0.25% just
wasn't enough

uranium

however then I thought maybe it was just still too hot and I had to wait for it to cool down so I decided to have some patience and to test it again a few minutes later this time it still wasn't amazing but it was for sure better than before I then let it cool completely down to room temperature before testing again and this time it worked really well the 0.25% of

uranium

that I used was apparently more than enough and I guess I wasn't gonna have to add any
extra there was still some

glass

left in the dish so I poured it out as well and I made another little flat

glass

thing this one also worked really well once it was at room temperature and it glowed nicely under UV after

making

these it was getting late so I had to leave everything and come back in the morning unfortunately though when I checked on the

glass

one of them had spontaneously broke these pieces were a lot bigger than that first test run and was looking like this might cause some
problems one of them was still okay though and I thought that maybe only one of them braking was just some bad luck then almost as the woods somehow knew what I was thinking it responded by splitting in half right when it was sitting in front of me this was completely random so I unfortunately didn't get it on camera but this made it clear to me that there was an issue this was happening because I had cooled down the

glass

quickly and unevenly and it had caused a lot of internal stress what
I thought might work to fix this was to just insulate the

glass

and have it cooled down really slowly the final result would still be under high stress but I was hoping that it would lower it enough just so that it would stop spontaneously falling apart for this one I also decided to try

making

it a lot bigger and I loaded up way more

glass

I then poured it all out and the moment that it looks solid enough I put it between some insulation after that I moved it to one of my benches to cool and it
initially seemed to be working well however a few hours later I heard the sound of breaking

glass

and this was what I came back to a lot of stress had clearly built up and it was apparently enough to shoot some of it a couple inches the pieces that survived didn't seem to be too fragile at least when I was hitting them however shocking them with heat probably would have caused them to pop I decided to try breaking a piece of it with pliers and it was surprisingly difficult the moment that it
did break though it just exploded from all that internal stress I thought this was really cool but what I wasn't a fan of was all the powdered

uranium

glass

dust that was flying everywhere after doing this I realized my only real option was to anneal it to do this I'd have to hold the

glass

at around 450 C for several hours at this temperature the

glass

is solid but it's still liquid enough that its atoms are able to move around this happens really slowly which is why it takes
several hours but it lets them move to new positions and reduce the overall internal stress this is the proper way to do things and it's what I ideally would have done before but I was trying to avoid it because I only had one furnace this makes it much more difficult and slow to do things but I figured I would try it out I still really wanted to make a big disk of it so I melted the rest of the powder that I had and I poured out another one then as it was cooling I quickly changed the
furnace temperature to 450 C and I put it in to anneal this it would take at least several hours and I was planning to leave it overnight in the meantime I collected all the broken

glass

that I had and because now I didn't have a furnace I melted it with a torch now what I wanted to try here was to do some

glass

blowing with it but I had no idea what I was doing and it was a total failure instead I just made several beads that I thought were small enough that I could get away without
annealing them however at the last minute I got the genius idea to anneal them just in case I knew it was a bad idea to open the furnace but I did it anyway and it was well a bad idea I tried to put it in quickly but where the beaker touched the disk it started forming a crack I then tried to move it around to get a better look at it and cracks for him to everywhere that I touched I actually thought that this was pretty cool but now I was worried that it would just end up exploding again so I
took it out and I blasted it with a torch to heat it up again and to melt the surface this way I was hoping that even if there were cracks if I sealed the top it could prevent it from falling apart after this I put it back into the furnace and I let everything anneal overnight the next day I was worried that I had open it up and just see a disaster but it turned out to be fine I was initially a bit disappointed that the big piece got so cracked but I actually ended up liking it I think having it
like this made it a bit more interesting I think the small beads that I made also turned out really well and none of them were cracked or falling apart the question that I had now though was how

radioactive

were these pieces of

glass

considering the amount of

uranium

that I put into it it was definitely quite low but I still wanted to test it the Geiger counter that I had though wasn't the best for this and I decided to invest in a better one this one is much more sensitive and has a bigger
detection area and it can also detect alpha particles to test it out I did it with the biggest piece and with the

uranium

concentration of only 0.25 percent I assume that the reading would be really low however it was more than what I got with the pure urinal nitrate because it was now actually seeing the alpha particles the detector also had a totally different shape and a much larger surface area which let it pick up many more particles as a unit CPM only shows the strict number of particles
that it detects and it doesn't differentiate between things like alpha beta or gamma this is important though when trying to judge how dangerous or

radioactive

sources because they aren't all equal for this reason it's sometimes better to go with a different unit like sieverts which will take this into account in microsieverts per hour this gave a reading of about 5.5 and according to this which I got from the Canadian Nuclear Association it means that if you held your cheek against
it it would be like getting a dental x-ray every two hours now for one of the beads I got that it was only about 1.3 microsieverts per hour and this was just because it was a lot smaller in either case though at this level of radiation this

glass

is generally safe to have around and to occasionally handle however it would be a very bad idea to fill your pockets with them or something and to carry it around all the time it might be okay to occasionally wear it as a necklace or something for a
short period of time but I don't think it's the greatest idea in a somewhat recent video I said that I wasn't really gonna be doing sponsorships anymore and it was mostly because I didn't feel comfortable doing them one of my biggest issues was that I didn't like being told what to say or to cover specific marketing or buzzword talking points even though I would never promote something that I didn't genuinely like I just didn't really like this part of it I decided
though that I'd start doing them again if I could almost have completely free rein over them and when it came up with this idea I honestly didn't think that anyone would actually do this but to my surprise brilliant approached me and they did exactly that before this I had actually never heard of brilliant but I've been using it now for about a week and I really like it I mostly use it on my phone but it's also available on the computer by just going to their website brilliant
org they offer a bunch of mini courses and things like math physics chemistry and computer science and they do it in a way that I think is really fun this is because they take a different and more active approach to learning that makes it feel a lot more like a game they cover a lot of the fundamentals and I've been mostly focusing on the physics ones because physics has always been a huge hole in my knowledge what I also like is that it's really easy to start and stop because it's
broken up into a lot of small sections I generally don't have a lot of time to do things but I'm still progressing through it even what I just randomly go on it for several minutes at a time but with all that being said if you're interested in learning something new you should definitely check out brilliant they offer a free version which you can try out first and then if you like it you can sign up for the premium which has a lot more material and many more features also if you do
decide to go with premium you should sign up using my link which is brilliant dot org slash Nile red because they're giving 20% off to the first 200 people that use it but anyway I hope you guys enjoyed the video and I'll see you on the next one as usual a big things goes out to all my supporters on patreon everyone who supports me can see my videos at least 24 hours before I post them to YouTube also everyone on patreon can directly message me and if you support me with $5 or more
you'll get your name at the end like you see here