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Author: Subject: Periodic Table Display
MrHomeScientist
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[*] posted on 5-2-2013 at 12:19
Periodic Table Display


Very recently I finally completed a pretty massive project that I thought I'd share with you all: a large periodic table display for my element collection! I designed and built this myself, since my element collection has grown large enough where I think it deserves a nice display unit.

Broad overview: it is a large freestanding display unit with individual acrylic shelves for all 118 elements (plus two placeholders for the lanthanide and actinide series'), with the shelves backlit by LED strips. The display is able to be broken down into four pieces, to allow for easy transport. The LEDs are controllable via an Arduino "master controller" and several LED driver boards mounted to the back, allowing for some really neat effects. In the future, I plan to write a tablet app that can control the display via a periodic table GUI. That will enable things like Quiz mode, where multiple choice questions can be asked, the answers lit up on the board, and the correct one flashing (or something similar).

I put together a video summarizing the build and showing it in action:



I go into much more detail on my blog, in a series of posts starting with the introduction: http://thehomescientist.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-element-dis...

I won't attempt to replicate all that info here, but here are a few fun facts about the display:

- Design time: 3 months
- Construction time: ~1 year (working during my free time)
- Dimensions: 48" tall x 65" wide (about 4 ft x 5.5 ft)
- Number of holes drilled: 361
- Cost: ~$1000 (not including the actual elements, or all the prototyping materials I went through)
- Current collection: 51 pure elements, 10 elements represented by radioactive decay products (U ore), and 2 representative compounds (Teflon and AmO2)


Soon I'll be going through my whole collection in another set of videos as well, so stay tuned for that!
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Hexavalent
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[*] posted on 5-2-2013 at 12:28


That looks incredible! Congratulations on such a brilliant looking display that shows the elements at their best.

Well done! :D




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[*] posted on 5-2-2013 at 12:32


I'd love to see this in person! You did it great job on it, can you post a video showing all the elements you have? I'd like to see that.
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 12-9-2014 at 10:00


got mine outta wood just made !

periodic table.JPG - 1.2MB
the lanthanides and actinides section is just behind it where Gd sits(in the middle)




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[*] posted on 12-9-2014 at 18:18


Y'know, Sciencemadness should really do some kind of awards thingy for the people on this site that really stand out. Because this is just stellar. Awesome display man, and thanks for representing home chemistry in such a positive light(no pun intended) when you take it places. Can't wait to see it with all the elements, someday.



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[*] posted on 12-9-2014 at 18:40


I wish it had different colors for each element - corresponding to their flame color, or in the case of the transition metals the most common salt color, or something like that.
What's the code for the Arduino, incidentally? I've had quite a bit of experience writing for Arduinos.




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MrHomeScientist
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[*] posted on 15-9-2014 at 07:01


Thanks very much, No Tears Only Dreams Now! I've taken it to several events now and it's been a pretty big hit. I think people really like seeing actual physical samples, like I do. Most people ask about Uranium, then freak out when I hand them a sample :)

EC1, that would definitely be cool. 6 colors was about the most I could find for single-color LED strips, though. Going to RGB LEDs would have added another layer of complexity to the wiring and code, and quite a bit more expense. For the Arduino, I'll direct you to my friend that helped put that side of the project together for me: http://www.billporter.info/2013/02/02/the-elemental-illumina...
If you don't feel like reading through all that, here's the direct link to the source code on github: https://github.com/madsci1016/TheElementalIlluminator
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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 15-9-2014 at 09:06


Not really - a 30 ft. strip cost around $15 on Amazon, last I checked. The coding isn't too hard, either - 3 logic-level transistors and PWM outputs that vary based on the color you're going for, and you have every color of the rainbow.

Looking at this, this seems like an awful lot of circuitry and work - but the end result is amazing! I don't think I could top 'music mode' for my collection. :P




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MrHomeScientist
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[*] posted on 15-9-2014 at 10:18


Yeah as he says in his blog post he pretty much threw it together quick and dirty because he was ramping up preparations for his wedding. So understandably a bit distracted. I'd never worked with hardware level coding before this, so it was very interesting for me to have a 1kb size limitation!
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[*] posted on 16-9-2014 at 15:56


you might want to brush DCM on the edges of the Plexiglas to make it completely transparent.
other than that, it's perfect!




all above information is intellectual property of Pyro. :D
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 07:18




new resized.jpg - 1MB




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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 07:20


Nice neptunium, it looks great!
Also... do you have plutonium? :o

Edit: Never mind, I just realized that your table is arranged slightly differently than mine, which would make that americium, right?

[Edited on 10-13-2014 by zts16]




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neptunium
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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 07:31


correct! i dont think any of us could get even micro gram quantity of element 94....
Lanthanum and Actinium are on the main frame leaving only 14 compartments for the lanthanides and actinides .


mine is not as fancy but i like it nonetheless!



[Edited on 13-10-2014 by neptunium]




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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 11:41


Quote: Originally posted by neptunium  
correct! i dont think any of us could get even micro gram quantity of element 94....

[Edited on 13-10-2014 by neptunium]


That is correct - the only element heavier than uranium allowed for private possession without a specific license is americium.

You can however get neptunium if you buy one of these:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/PYROTRONICS-F5B-Ionization-Smoke-Det...

a Pyrotronics F5 smoke detector made in the early 1970s. These contained a whopping 80 microcuries (20 micrograms) of americium, and since they are now 40 years old 10% of that has decayed into neptunium. For $120 you can get 2 micrograms of neptunium.
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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 12:18


There is this Russian smoke detector that supposedly contains as much as 0.5 mg of said element.

http://www.periodictable.ru/094Pu/Pu_en.html

I'd be difficult to procure anywhere outside of Russia and illegal to possess in most places though.




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neptunium
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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 15:02


0.5 mg of Pu239 !!!!! wow!!!!!



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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 15:53


Not an "unusual element" but I favor adding all three isotopes of hydrogen to an element display, since there are few elements with multiple isotopes that you can get in pure form, and none that are demonstrably different in their behavior.

Vials of light water and heavy water can be displayed with a peice of polystyrene in each (sinks in light water, floats in heavy water) and you can us a tritium gas glow vial for nice tritium display.

There is a guy in Europe selling tritium glow spheres that contain a whopping 10 curies of tritium. This is one milligram, and is about 1/5000 of the amount used in modern thermonuclear weapons.

http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/showthread.php?270326-B-rt-...

The CandePowerForumMarketplace website is a PITA to get a usable active account on (moderator approval required to register, three posts are required before full activation, which also require moderator approval...) so you could try emailing the vendor directly if interested:
"Bart" pixpimp at gee mail

It appears that the EU is cracking down on tritium sales and sources this large aren't being made anymore.
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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 16:15


Why would the EU be cracking down on tritium sales? Do they think people are going to extract the tritium to convert the fission bomb they already have into a fusion bomb??
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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 16:29


Quote: Originally posted by Oscilllator  
Why would the EU be cracking down on tritium sales? Do they think people are going to extract the tritium to convert the fission bomb they already have into a fusion bomb??


Just the usual consumer safety considerations.

10 curies is a lethal dose of tritium if absorbed as tritiated water, and no fluid flushing is used for treatment.

The US does not permit the sale of tritium gas tubes at all, I believe. All the sources of these are European or Israeli.
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[*] posted on 13-10-2014 at 17:01


great display MrHomeScientist. more inspiration for me to get of my behind and do something! I wish I had a spare year...

a couple of thoughts:
I am trialling SMD5050 rgb LEDs for lighting. they can be controlled by PIC, laptop, ardruino etc. I bought 100 of em for a couple of $

are your sample tubes under argon?
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MrHomeScientist
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[*] posted on 15-10-2014 at 11:39


Thanks! No, nothing is under argon. However, careysub just recently turned me on to "bloxygen" - a commercial product that's just an aerosol can of pressurized high purity argon! I bought a few and used some to seal some lithium pellets in a media bottle. I've had it there for several weeks with no visible tarnishing at all (well, no more tarnished than it was to begin with). I think I'll use some of this for future samples that require it, like the rare earths or alkali metals.
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[*] posted on 15-10-2014 at 12:12


Quote: Originally posted by careysub  
Quote: Originally posted by Oscilllator  
Why would the EU be cracking down on tritium sales? Do they think people are going to extract the tritium to convert the fission bomb they already have into a fusion bomb??


Just the usual consumer safety considerations.

10 curies is a lethal dose of tritium if absorbed as tritiated water, and no fluid flushing is used for treatment.

The US does not permit the sale of tritium gas tubes at all, I believe. All the sources of these are European or Israeli.


Tritium has been considered a "strategic resource" by the government thus sales have been restricted.




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[*] posted on 15-10-2014 at 14:20


You can buy tritium emergency exit signs in the U.S. They cost $275, and have 25 curies of tritium gas among the various tubes making up the display.

Although no license is required to buy one, the device itself is registered with the NRC and garbage disposal is forbidden.

http://www.exitlightco.com/category/Power-free-Self-luminous...

BTW tritium gas is harmless since the body's absorption/retention of elemental hydrogen gas is negligible. The toxicity of unoxidized tritium-hydrogen is at least 10,000 times less than HTO. If a sign gets burned up the tritium can be oxidized.
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[*] posted on 15-10-2014 at 15:31


find someone with a MIG welder. they all use Ar. the amount you use would cost about 5 cents! that's what I do.
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 22-12-2014 at 21:46


68 elements out of 84 (potentially) ! slowly getting there!


number 2.JPG - 739kB


I know it is not as fancy and awe inspiring as Mrhomescientist's, but i am still proud of it and I love to show it !


[Edited on 23-12-2014 by neptunium]




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