Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Storing elements, including alkali metals, properly

inanium - 14-12-2021 at 22:07


As part of my chemistry hobby I've begun collecting elements. I don't have a proper place to display them yet but I'd like to find a reasonably priced, small(<= 250mL?) jar I can use to store various samples. The collection will include alkali metals so I think I need something that is airtight and won't allow the mineral oil to escape. Any suggestions?

Some elements will obviously need to be stored in ampules, and some, like bromine, I'm not even going to mess with until I have a safer display for them. Right now I mostly just have transition metals so it hasn't been a big deal, but I'd like to get more reactive elements at some point as well.

I've ordered a bunch of stuff from 'jdchemist' on ebay and I like the small vials they use. Something like that would be perfect if I could find it in a slightly bigger size, assuming they're tight enough for the mineral oil not to leak out. I'll generally be storing them upright, but I don't want a problem if they somehow tip over.

Thanks in advance!

j_sum1 - 15-12-2021 at 01:45

For element display of alkali metals, I would go for an ampoule if possible: preferably a purchased ampoule. Hot glass and alkali metal is not a combo I really want to play with if I can help it.

If that is not possible, second choice is a screw-top jar with mineral oil. That is how I store the metals for use. It is possible to clean the metals so they look quite attractive.

Good luck on your element collection. It is a rewarding exercise and you will find quite a few kindred spirits here.
My collection has around 200 samples of approx 75 elements. But nothing adequately dusplayed at the moment.

Triflic Acid - 15-12-2021 at 07:48

Another idea, encase the raw sample in clear resin. Might take some fiddling to get something that won't react with sodium, but this should be completely airproof.

inanium - 15-12-2021 at 08:24

I like the idea of using ampoules for display since it's by far the safest option. It's probably the best option for Li too since it seems to float in the oil.

That said, I'd also like to find some jars so I can have samples which I can occasionally use for experimentation. I'd hate to have to break an ampoule.