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Glass Blowing with Uranium Glass?

Discussion in 'Cannabis paraphernalia' started by Potter, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Potter

    Potter Platinum Member & Advisor

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    I've got my hands on some Uranium glass and I was thinking I'd really like to get it made into a pipe. The stuff is usually in oxide diuranate form, added to a glass mix prior to melting. The proportion usually varies from trace levels to about 2% by weight uranium, although some 19th-century pieces were made with up to 25% uranium.

    I know the stuff has been blown in the past, one of my pieces is a handblown sculpture, but can I get a blower to take an old piece of glass and remelt it into something new? Glass does work like that right? Has anyone ever blown with Uranium glass and has any useful info or tips? Is this stuff any real threat to the blower? Would it be possible to insert beads into hot glass?

    Finally, what about some awesome ideas? I want something rugged, no small parts to break. The glass is green and will glow in the dark. I found star shaped beads and thought those on a flat black base would be really neat, maybe a little rocket. Or maybe a little nuclear power plant replica, gray glass with a cooling tower bowl lined with the glass! I don't think it would be as cool as it sounds.

    Seems they are making he beads in Czech and they can be found really cheap, might be fun for rave jewelry.
     
  2. fritzthecat

    fritzthecat Silver Member

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    Duh...Is the glass radioactive ? :laugh: Had to ask , sorry .:applause:

    Can any of Uraniums salts be used ? For instance the nitrate ? One of friends brothers half-sisters cat came across some at a flea market . The flea on the cat said that Uranium Nitrate is used in sensors that measure pressure . Earthquake monitoring stuff . The crystal is placeed next to a photo sensor and is trigger when the crystal flashes . Interesting .
     
  3. Pondlife

    Pondlife Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Yes, but uranium is only weakly radioactive, and it's an alpha emitter which means the little radiation that it does produce will not penetrate the skin.

    It can be pretty nasty if ingested though, because uranium is toxic.
     
  4. jakeg

    jakeg Silver Member

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    im a glassblower who uses a torch to melt the glass in a style known as flameworking. uranium glass was made in the past for both decorative and scientific applications. if the uranium glass is made with borosilicate glass(the kind pipes are made of) it is compatible with other types of borosilicate glass in both clear and color. supposedly working with this glass is not very harmful to the blower if used sparingly. several people i kno have used it in the past with no ill effects but some refuse to touch it. another interesting fact is that uranium borosilicate glass is no longer being made all the stock that is around in rods and tubing were made before ww2
     
  5. Potter

    Potter Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Pondlife: Ingesting ANY form of glass is pretty harmful...

    Jakeg: Is that true in Europe? I know there was the Uranium seizure during the Cold War, but I thought when that ended production started up. It seems like there has been a massive resurgence in availability at rather low prices, and I wouldn't put it past an Eastern European nuclear plant selling off DU to glass-makers.
     
  6. Der Alte Kreiger

    Der Alte Kreiger

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    A friend of mines mom had a whole room devoted to showcases of depression glasse items that she called vaseline glass. Absolutly beautiful under the black light but just looked green and yellow under natural light. All I have ever seen needed the UV light to flouresce.
     
  7. full_kiln

    full_kiln Newbie

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    uranium glass has the same radioactivity as cobalt glass which is basically all of the dark blue you see with todays borosilicate palette of color, here's a cool thing to make with it
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7KnCE03VN8
     
  8. fritzthecat

    fritzthecat Silver Member

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    Its been awhile for this thread...any more experiments with the "U" glass ? I've been saving broken cobalt glass for a while now . I must have about a kilogam . I didn't know it was radioactive . Interesting . I have a half baked idea to melt the glass in a huge bonfire hopefully into a mold . Now what to make is the question ? I like the idea of a cobalt blue smoking pipe that is heavy.
     
  9. trdofbeingtrd

    trdofbeingtrd Palladium Member

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    Other than colors mixing together, there should be no reason you cannot "recycle" your old pipes and create your own masterpiece. I apologize if this has already been said, I skimmed it over.

    I have no schooling on the subject, but I have spent many nights learning from someone who blows glass professionally both pipes and other art forms such as vases, Christmas ornaments, ect.....
     
  10. Roads

    Roads

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    My panda's friend has a set of uranium glass cups which he has been told are approx. 4% uranium by weight, but also have a large percentage of lead to help deaden the radioactivity. They glow greenish-yellowish under a UV light/lamp.

    You could probably find a glass blower that would blow it for you into a pipe or whatever you want, but you'll want him to include a high percentage of lead into the blowing process in order to maintain a product that won't be significantly radioactive. The original uranium glass product is mildly radioactive, but uranium radiation poisoning takes several years to develop and the time it would take a glass blower to do his work on it would do no harm to him.

    Still, the final product is not something I'd keep on my nightstand or have frequent contact with. Lol. :)
     
  11. fritzthecat

    fritzthecat Silver Member

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    Back in the 70's an old friend of mine acquired some orange Mexican pottery . For some reason he decided to do a geiger counter scan on it and it proved to be radioactive . He called the authorities back then and they said it wasn't their responsibility . So he buried the stuff...:(
     
  12. MBlivesinatree

    MBlivesinatree Newbie

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    Isn't alpha radiation super bad (as in lung cancer causing) for you if breathed in, and yet you're going to make a pipe out of it?? also mixing lead with something you're going to be smoking out , as some of the other posters were talking about, doesn't seem to be then best idea either. I can see maybe for something purely decorative like a vase maybe, though personally I still don't like the idea, but I wouldn't want uranium or lead in anything connected to putting any substance in or on my body.
     
  13. fritzthecat

    fritzthecat Silver Member

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    A photo of some Uranium glass would be good so we can ID pieces at sales .:cool:
     
  14. corvardus

    corvardus Gold Member

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    Alpha particle radiation is, essentially, helium nucleus. Outside of fission it is one of the largest (in volume and mass) particles that can be consumed. Easy to stop on the dead skin cells, significantly more destructive (MeV ranges) in living cells.

    You would be correct that it would increase the risk of cellular damage should it present itself to the squamous epithelia of the alveoli but there are more pressing radioactive events than uranium glass depending on where you live.

    The half-life of uranium is measured in the life-age of the earth and the uranium isotopes are "locked" inside the crystal lattice of the glass you'll only have to contend with an alpha particle being emitted during smoking and even then the probability of that alpha particle even reaching the throat before it is absorbed by the particulates in the smoke would be low.

    If you have a cluster of radionuclides you still have potentially trillions of atoms capable of emitting trillions of alpha particles and this is where the risk of cancer comes in. Not from a stray alpha particle wandering in through smoking.

    The risk is during glass glowing where it can be conceivable that fine particulates of uranium glass could enter the lungs, but fortunately glass blowing tends to imply an outward motion of breath rather than sucking!

    Lead is similar in this respect where the only realistic option for toxicity is where leaded glass has been kept in close proximity to a slightly acidic solution (i.e. wine) for years on end.

    Smoking does not seem to suggest any significant hazard sans heating the glass to melting temperatures. It would be wise not to heat the pipe up to such levels anyway.

    It tends to be yellow/green in colour but the best way to determine whether you have Uranium glass would be expose it to black light. It fluoresces into a nice stereotypical radioactive green.
     
  15. Potter

    Potter Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Colored glass always has weird metals in it. The trick is that the glass doesn't melt or even get touched by the fire at the low temperatures of use, your biggest danger is uneven heating and a crack, not vaporization of the particles; of which the molten glass would be as much a threat.

    Ever have a really high quality champagne flute? One that sparked in the light, that was leaded glass, you'll live. You don't want to use glass or ceramics such as these to store food, transport your water, or cook all day in over an open fire, but as serving pieces, they are acceptable.
    Source
     
  16. fritzthecat

    fritzthecat Silver Member

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    Ive been saving all the broken cobalt blue glass I can get my hands on . I'd like to make a gass ball out of the glass by melting it into a mold .

    Would Uranium nitrate color glass ? How do you test what kind of Uraium the nitrate is made of ?
     
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