Tag Archives: DU

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On a recent business trip, I found an airplane at an airplane museum with what appears to be DU. This is not uncommon in airplanes.

Peaks found:
Thorium 234 63.29 keV
Thorium 234 92.38 keV
Thorium 234 92.8 keV
Protactinium 234m 766.36 keV
Protactinium 234m 1001.03 keV

Half Lives of Detected Isotopes (secular equillibrium with U238):
Thorium 234 t0.5 = 24.1 Days
Protactinium 234m t0.5 = 70.2 seconds

Unknown peaks (likely from natural uranium present in the concrete below the aircraft)
162.5 keV Unknown
176.3 keV (186.1 keV) – Possibly from Ra226
231.5 keV (241.98 keV) – Possibly from Pb214
307.3 keV (295.21 keV) – Possibly from Pb214
355.6 keV (351.92 keV) – Possibly from Pb214

Radioactive Fiesta® Ware – Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

Filed under Radiation, Science
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Fiesta® Ware – Cinco de Mayo!!!

It’s the fifth of may and everyone is celebrating the French receiving some sort of “beat down” by the Mexicans. Sounds like a party, but why not make it a Fiesta!?

I thought it a good time to find and buy a Fiesta® Ware plate of my very own.

Fredericksburg Virginia, close to me, has dozens of antique shops. Most antique shops I have visited in the United States are literally full of hundreds of pieces of uranium glassware and uranium ceramics.

How much uranium is in one of my local stores? Let’s do some “ball park” guess work. =)
I have read that glazes for (this is a touch anecdotal) ceramics, like Fiesta® Ware contained about 10-12% uranium by mass, while depression glassware contains about 2%. If I suppose that a normal antique shop has about five pieces of Fiesta® Ware at 50g’s of glaze each and 50 pieces of depression glassware at about 150grams each… we would get:

5pieces (50g)0.12 + 50 pieces(150g)0.02 = 180g of uranium =) That’s 6.3 ounces…

Of course, this is merely a guess.

Anyhow, the piece I purchased (for a mere $20) is quit lovely, behind lead, and old too. The gamma spectrum I detected showed a much greater U-235 peak at 185.71 keV and 143.76 keV than I would have expected for natural uranium. Also, the equilibrium of Pa-234m is low but growing faster than my DU marbles… I would have to call this processed natural uranium oxide. I would guess that my does is somewhere between 2-8 mR/hr at contact, which is why I keep the plate far away and behind lead. =)

Data from: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0829/ML082910862.pdf
and http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/fiesta.htm