Americium 50mm Lucite Cube

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Americium (2).JPG
Americium (4).JPG
Americium (2).JPG

Americium 50mm Lucite Cube

60.00

Each element collector is a bit different but one clear dividing line between them is the choice on whether or not to collect samples of the radioactive elements. Those who don't cite reasons of safety, expense and the miniscule amounts available that can be collected. The rest are happy to include stand-ins like uranium ore or vintage glazed glass in place of real metallic uranium, which is hard to come by, and thoriated welding rods in place of thorium. Another easy one to come by is americium which also happens to be the only man-made element that can be "collected" to any reasonable degree.

This is because at the heart of almost every smoke detector in American homes is a tiny button with a whisper thin layer of americium oxide; just big enough to shoot out a sufficient number of alpha particles that can be detected by a sensor on the other side. A small gap in between allows air to flow and, if it should contain smoke, the sensor notes the sudden lack of the stream of particles (being absorbed or deflected by the smoke) and sounds the alarm.

This is what those buttons look like. The screen containing the radioactive coating is invisibly thin but it's definitely there and slowly decaying into the also radioactive element neptunium-237; a process that will take the greater part of the next millenium to complete!

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