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Author: Subject: Uranium Extraction from Vaseline Glass Help
explosive eddy
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Uranium Extraction from Vaseline Glass Help

So I am trying to extract uranium from vaseline glass and I have tried different methods but keep failing. I have tried crushing the glass and converting the uranium oxide to uranium chloride which failed, and I also tried sulfuric acid to make uranium sulfate. I have some videos of my experiment in which I thought the sulfuric was reacting with the uranium glass, but I believe it was just reacting with residual hcl. I will provide a link to my videos and I would appreciate any ideas on getting the uranium extracted. I cannot possible melt uranium oxide, so I need to convert to uranium chloride which has a low melting point, and I believe I will be able to dissociate the chlorine to melt the uranium into a solid piece of metal.
Maroboduus
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Sounds like you're trying to leach it out of the glass matrix.

Maybe dissolving the glass in NaOH would be a better start.

I think that would leave the diuranate as a sludge.

This is way out of my line, but if this idea is total crap I'm sure somebody will let me know.
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That would be my approach too. I cannot see that you will get the U out of the matrix of the glass without dissolving the glass. That leaves two options: strong alkalis or fluorine chemistry. I would go molten NaOH any day over HF.

Out of interest, how much U is actually in the glass. I thought it was trace amounts. My attempts to get some nice uranium glass for the element collection suggest that the stuff is rather expensive most of the time. If all you get is microgram quantities after dissolving several dishes that would limit the suitability of this approach.
Maroboduus
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The sources I found said from 2% (common), to 25% (exceptional) uranium content.

I think you can actually dissolve glass in strong aqueous NaOH if you're patient enough, but I'm not certain.

I sure thinned out the bottom of one of my flasks once by re-fluxing a 50/50 KOH/ethanol solution for 24 hours without using a drying tube to keep atmospheric moisture out. (And no, it wasn't because I was using the drying tube as a crack pipe. I just didn't have one.)

EDIT: Not surprised to see much lower figures on uranium content given below. The percentages quoted in the source I found seemed awfully high.

[Edited on 20-1-2017 by Maroboduus]

[Edited on 20-1-2017 by Maroboduus]
explosive eddy
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I am hoping for at least 2 percent. I have seen sources that say 2 to 25 percent, but also sources that say 0.1-0.2 percent which would not be worth doing. I have about a pound of the glass so hopefully I will get some. I can do the sodium hydroxide approach although I would prefer to leach the uranium from the crushed glass. thanks for the ideas. I will get to work and see what comes out of it. If you want some uranium glass buy it as hobby glass. Beware of crappy uranium glass on ebay. Read the reviews before buying. I almost made a mistake buying some fake glass. The glass I have gives about 50 CPM so I believe that there is uranium inside of it. I was going to go with the approach of breaking some dishes but they were quite expensive then I stumbled onto a source on ebay of people selling vaseline glass for glass blowing supplies. It still isnt cheap. I paid 20 dollars for 1 pound of glass but that is with shipping included.
Chemetix
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You'd have more luck with raw U ore. Getting anything out of a glass matrix will take aeons, hyperbole there but you get the point, slow and very little yield.
Crushing works of uranium glass? There are angels weeping at the loss.

I have a few treasured tubes of borosilicate uranium glass; the thought of using them as ore destroys a part of my soul.
violet sin
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You got ripped compared to prices I have paid. thrift stores are your friend, ebay catches on and jacks up prices. Several pounds broken for <20$and 3$/pc for whole. Purchased both bags of marbles (raw casting material) and usefull objects (broke/whole). Black lights and old structures can turn up free shards. Pretty sure I have seen some ebay listings from j_sum's side of the world, beach worn, if you dig. These listings are from Puerto Rico. By the price standards this guys charging I'm rich.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-PURE-BEACH-SEA-GLASS-SURF-TUMBLED-...

Here is some of the stuff I had laying around close ar hand. Always wondered about the chemistry, but will not be trying anything like that in family basement.

Think the pitcher was 10$, 70's pony statue 16$, marbles were 15\$(only part of them shown loose and nearest bag), rest on the right was free(clear green, opaque green, yellow/red/orange bits, and white opaque ).

[Edited on 20-1-2017 by violet sin]

explosive eddy
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Thats a good buy on the marbles they are hard to get for cheap. I searched all my local thrift shops with no luck and I havent found a source of ore that is cheap they all seem super expensive. I also dont know a whole lot about the ore and how much uranium to expect. If the yield is 50 percent by weight then that is very good, but if the yield is 1 percent or less I couldnt see that being a good source because of the high prices.
explosive eddy
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Here is a picture of a piece of the glass I am working with. This is a small amount. I have a buddy that is making an arrowhead from the large chunk so I am going to get all the scraps when he is done and should have close to 1 pound. I never thought about having issues with the glass matrix. I may try dissolving the glass or simply give up.

phlogiston
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The intensity of fluorescence is a poor indicator of the U content. A geiger counter may provide an indication.
Don't get too dissapointed. Although 10%+ may exists, the vast majority is <1%. In my part of the world, 0.5% is most common.

U will only leach from the first few micrometers of the surface of the glass. There is a paper online about U leaching into various foods (including some very acidic foods) somewhere, I am sure google will find it.
Crushing the glass into a very fine powder may perhaps allow you to leach some of the U from it, but that will present a seriously dangerous dust hazard. Wouldn't recommend that route.

-----
"If a rocket goes up, who cares where it comes down, that's not my concern said Wernher von Braun" - Tom Lehrer
explosive eddy
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phlogiston

Thanks for that. That is a very interesting study. While looking at that I stumbled onto a study leaching the uranium from contaminated soil using sodium bicarbonate and an oxidizer. Not sure if I can get as strong as they did though they used sodium peroxide. This may be the next step
Yamato71
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There is a very good reason that high level nuclear waste is vitrified into glass before disposal. It's damn near impervious to chemical attack, even after thousands of years of burial. Even if you could extract every atom of uranium from your stash of vaseline glass, you would only end up with the barest smudge. Uranium glass contains much less than one percent of uranium oxide, not uranium metal. It must be converted by the fusion of the glass into very widely dispersed uranyl ions (UO2)+2 before the glass can fluoresce. If you must refine your own uranium, do so with ores such as carnotite, autinite or pitchblende. These are not as rare as you might think. I myself live in central Texas, where I can (and do) collect radioactive uranium and thorium ores on weekends. For what you spent on the glass in money and time, you could have collected a bucket full of hot rocks.
unionised
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 Quote: Originally posted by Yamato71 ... Uranium glass contains much less than one percent of uranium oxide, ...

You have a point about the difficulty of extraction, but where do you get the idea that there's so little Uranium in the glass?
Yamato71
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My experience with uranium glass goes back a while. In the 30's and 40's, neon sign makers used a green uranium glass called Noviol, which was made with between 0.2% and 0.5 % uranium dioxide. In '87 or so, I managed to score a few hundred pounds of the stuff for a friend who is a neon artist. Even though the individual 4 foot sticks were wrapped in WWII era newspaper, I wanted to confirm the glass was genuine before spending the small fortune that the owner wanted for it. I submitted a thumbnail sized piece for SEM-EDS analysis and got a UO2 content of 0.32%, spot on. The whole pile barely raised the pointer on a scintillometer above background, but it sure glowed pretty.
Yamato71
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My experience with uranium glass goes back a while. In the 30's and 40's, neon sign makers used a green uranium glass called Noviol, which was made with between 0.2% and 0.5 % uranium dioxide. In '87 or so, I managed to score a few hundred pounds of the stuff for a friend who is a neon artist. Even though the individual 4 foot sticks were wrapped in WWII era newspaper, I wanted to confirm the glass was genuine before spending the small fortune that the owner wanted for it. I submitted a thumbnail sized piece for SEM-EDS analysis and got a UO2 content of 0.32%, spot on. The whole pile barely raised the pointer on a scintillometer above background, but it sure glowed pretty.
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 Quote: Originally posted by Maroboduus Sounds like you're trying to leach it out of the glass matrix. Maybe dissolving the glass in NaOH would be a better start. I think that would leave the diuranate as a sludge. This is way out of my line, but if this idea is total crap I'm sure somebody will let me know.

That's a pretty good idea. The solubility of glass in (molten I assume), NaOH is pretty low though, and I don't fancy playing with a litre or so of molten sodium hydroxide. I've made sodium diuranate before though, by dissolving uranium ore in HCl and adding sodium hydroxide.

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