IS THE ELEMENT COLLECTION?
WHAT IS THE PERIODIC TABLE?
HOW MANY ELEMENTS ARE THERE IN THE COLLECTION?
WHY ARE THERE SEVERAL VERSIONS?
ARE ANY ELEMENTS MISSING?
WHAT ABOUT THE RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS?
ARE THE RADIOACTIVE SAMPLES DANGEROUS?
AREN'T SOME OF THE NON-RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS ALSO DANGEROUS?
WHAT CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FORM ARE THE ELEMENTS IN?
WHAT IS THE PURITY OF THE SAMPLES?
HOW MUCH OF EACH ELEMENT DO I GET?
WHAT IF I WANT LARGER SAMPLES?
HOW ARE THE ELEMENTS PACKAGED?
WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN BUYING THE COLLECTION?
WHAT ABOUT DISPOSAL?
HOW MUCH DOES THE ELEMENT COLLECTION COST?
WHY IS THE COLLECTION QUITE EXPENSIVE?
DO YOU OFFER A GUARANTEE?
ARE OTHER COLLECTION DESIGNS AVAILABLE?
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR COMPANY?
WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS DO YOU SELL?
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ELEMENTS?
CAN I ORDER THE ELEMENT COLLECTION?
IS THE ELEMENT COLLECTION? top
Element Collection is a boxed set of all the naturally occurring elements
in the periodic table. Approximately ninety chemical substances are
provided as samples that can be removed from their wood presentation
case in individual sealed glass tubes to study. The elements are carefully
protected for safety. The box measures 45cm x 24cm x 6cm.
IS THE PERIODIC TABLE? top
The periodic table of elements was devised by the Russian scientist
Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev in 1869. It is a system for arranging the
chemical elements, from which everything in the universe is ultimately
composed. The periodic table organises the elements into rows, columns
and blocks in an ingenious way which reflects their chemical behaviour.
The result is that elements vertically above or below one another in
the periodic table tend to have similar chemical (and often physical)
properties. The samples of each element provided in the Element Collection
are arranged according to Mendeleyev's periodic table.
MANY ELEMENTS ARE THERE IN THE COLLECTION? top
Several versions of the Element Collection are available: some with
and some without the radioactive elements. The full set contains 92
elements. The non-radioactive versions provides 81 elements. See the
question about the radioactive elements for further details of how these
samples are provided.
ARE THERE SEVERAL VERSIONS? top
Several versions are provided because many elements are very expensive
and there is a trade off between the size of the samples provided and
cost. The more expensive version contains larger amounts of the rare
elements. Also some people may not wish to purchase the radioactive
elements (even though the quantities are very small and the radiation
levels produced well below government safety thresholds). See the question
ANY ELEMENTS MISSING? top
The Element Collection includes all the naturally occurring elements
up to and including Uranium (atomic number 92). See the question about
radioactive elements for information about the form of these samples:
in some cases you get only a few atoms! The collection excludes the
artificially-produced transuranic elements (atomic numbers 93 to 118),
which are all highly radioactive and mostly very short-lived. Almost
all the transuranics are too dangerous to include in visible quantities.
Sorry: no Plutonium!
ABOUT THE RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS? top
Two radioactive elements (Thorium and Uranium) are provided as small
metal samples. Two others, Radium and Prometheum, are presented in the
form of small dabs of luminous paint. They exist in the paint in trace
amounts mixed with zinc sulphide which gives off light when exposed
to radiation. You can see the Ra and Pm samples glowing in the dark.
The remaining seven radioactives are represented by small Uranium or
Thorium bearing rocks. These naturally occurring specimens contain complex
decay chains of radioactive elements and at any given time will harbour
a small quantity of the specified element. Further details, including
an estimate of the number of atoms each radioactive element in the samples,
are provided in the guide that accompanies the Element Collection.
THE RADIOACTIVE SAMPLES DANGEROUS? top
We take safety very seriously and have consulted both the UK Health
and Safety Executive and the UK National Radiological Protection board
during the development of the Element Collection. All the radioactive
samples are stored in sealed containers and both the amount of radioactive
materials and level of radioactivity emitted are well below the exemption
thresholds under present legislation. The activity at the surface of
the most active samples is below 1 micro Sievert per hour which is a
level commonly encountered in the basements of some houses built on
granite rocks or in the passenger compartment of a transatlantic jet.
It is not advisable to expose yourself to any unnecessary source of
radiation. The level of exposure from normal use of the Element Collection
will be well below that encountered from everyday background sources.
SOME OF THE NON-RADIOACTIVE
ELEMENTS ALSO DANGEROUS? top
Yes! Some of the more toxic elements included in the Element Collection
are Beryllium, Arsenic, Bromine, Mercury and Thallium. Some of the more
reactive elements include Rubidium and Caesium. All the samples are
of course sealed inside glass tubes and stored inside their wooden case,
however the danger still exists that these could be broken. Where the
risk is significant, the elements have been further protected by providing
a second vessel within the tube. Wherever possible the safest form of
the element has been used (solid Beryllium plate rather than powder
for example). The small size of the samples helps to reduce risk. Clean-up
instructions are provided in the event of a spill. The Element Collection
is not a toy. It should be kept in a safe place. Children should not
be allowed to handle any of the hazardous samples (indicated in the
accompanying documentation) unsupervised. When you purchase the Element
Collection you must first return a declaration stating that you will
use the product responsibly. Click on the SAFETY
link to download the Health and Safety data sheet for the Element Collection
which provides further details.
CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FORM ARE THE ELEMENTS IN? top
All non-radioactive elements are presented in their pure uncombined
form: the majority are metals, two are liquids (Bromine and Mercury)
and ten are gases. Where several forms of the element exist (allotropes)
the safest or commonest is generally provided. An example is Phosphorous
which is supplied in the non-toxic red allotrope. See the question about
the radioactive elements for more information about how they are presented.
The physical form of each element varies greatly: many are presented
as irregular lumps, others as foil strips and a few as wire. Powders
are generally avoided except for some of the nonmetals (eg Boron and
IS THE PURITY OF THE SAMPLES? top
The elements are generally provided at a purity of 99.9% (3N) or better.
An exception is the trace radioactive elements as explained elsewhere
in this FAQ. Copies of the certificates of analysis can be provided
MUCH OF EACH ELEMENT DO I GET? top
This varies widely depending on the cost of the material and which version
of the Element Collection you decide to buy. In the basic version, approximately
0.5g each of the commoner elements is supplied, which gives a generous
sample occupying approximately the bottom fifth of the sample tube.
With the very costly elements we provide a reasonable fragment that
can be readily viewed with the naked eye, to see its properties and
to allow comparison with other elements. For example, one of the more
expensive elements is the rare earth Lutetium which costs over $100
per gram. For Lu we supply one or more metal fragments that together
cover an area of approximately 5 square mm and weigh around 0.05g. Rhodium
is even more costly: over $200 per gram. For this element (and also
some of the other precious metals) we provide a thin high purity coating
on both sides of a substrate strip which demonstrates Rhodium's shiny
silver appearance very clearly.
IF I WANT LARGER SAMPLES? top
Some people may wish to special order a version of the collection with
larger samples of the rarer elements. In this version at least 1g of
most elements is provided. There are a very few exceptions and full
details can be provided on request. This version is of course considerably
ARE THE ELEMENTS PACKAGED? top
Each element is sealed in an individual glass sample tube with a black
cap that is permanently bonded on and cannot be removed. These small
bottles measure approximately 35mm in height and are 18mm in diameter.
Air-sensitive elements are stored under clear mineral oil or inert gas.
A few dangerous elements are further protected in a second glass tube
within the bottle. The chemical symbol for each element is engraved
onto its bottle cap and colour-coded to indicate the group in the periodic
table to which the element belongs. The sample tubes are housed in individual
compartments in a felt-lined wooden box measuring approximately 40cm
x 20cm x 5cm. The box has a hinged lid with dual catches and is specially
manufactured for us using an attractive pale wood.
MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN BUYING THE COLLECTION? top
The Element Collection is particularly suitable for school chemistry
departments as the specimens can be passed individually around a class.
Scientists and those involved in science will find the Element Collection
a valuable resource and a lasting source of interest. The presentation
set makes a handsome gift and will appeal to those, such as metallurgists
and people in the microelectronics industry, involved in working with
the elements. Lastly the Element Collection will appeal to everyone
who has a sense of curiosity about the natural world.
ABOUT DISPOSAL? top
The Element Collection is designed to last indefinitely. In the unlikely
event that it needs to be discarded, it is important that prevailing
environmental regulations are followed with regard to disposal of the
toxic and radioactive samples. Everyone purchasing the Element Collection
must sign an agreement taking responsibility for ultimate safe disposal.
MUCH DOES THE ELEMENT COLLECTION COST? top
The full set of 92 elements costs £475. The version of the Element Collection
without the radioactive elements (81 elements) costs £375. The version
with larger 1g samples of the rarer elements costs £895. All prices
are ex VAT. Shipping and insurance for delivery within the UK costs
£25. Shipping overseas costs £45. You will find price conversion to
Euros and to US Dollars on our website.
IS THE COLLECTION QUITE EXPENSIVE? top
Producing the Element Collection is not easy! Many of the elements themselves
are expensive (far more costly even than Gold). A more significant factor
is the special handling and packaging that is required, especially for
toxic substances and the numerous elements sensitive to air. To help
people on a tight budget, we do offer a version without the radioactive
elements at a lower price.
YOU OFFER A GUARANTEE? top
The Element Collection may be returned (in the condition in which it
was received) for a full refund (less P&P) within seven days of purchase.
Any samples which deterioriate within one year of sale may be returned
for free replacement. Spare samples can be purchased individually by
OTHER COLLECTION DESIGNS AVAILABLE? top
We are also working on a unique clear resin display in which the elements
are arranged according to the periodic table. It has the advantage that
all the samples are simultaneously visible, while being protected in
a robust matrix. It makes an impressive display for an office wall,
board room or desktop. You can see some images of the RESIN
VERSION here. This version of the Element Collection is currently
only available by special order: email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ME ABOUT YOUR COMPANY? top
The Element Collection is produced by The Red Green & Blue Company Ltd
(RGB). The company was founded in 1987 and specialises in science-related
projects. Over the years RGB has been responsible for numerous documentary
films including several episodes of the BBC science series Horizon,
public displays and educational projects including a BAFTA-winning natural
history website, a wide range of interactive CD-ROMs and DVDs, and a
series of exhibits at the UK's leading hands-on science centre Explore-at-Bristol.
OTHER PRODUCTS DO YOU SELL? top
If you decide to buy the version of the Element Collection with the
full set of elements, you might also consider purchasing a hand held
monitor (Geiger counter) to test the radioactive samples. We offer
via our webstore an excellent battery-operated model that accurately
measures a wide range of radiation and is useful for measuring background
radioactivity around the home or workplace. Please visit the order
page for further details.
CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ELEMENTS? top
There are numerous excellent periodic tables available on the internet,
for example http://www.webelements.com.
We also highly recommend the book "The
Elements: Nature's Building Blocks" by John Emsley published by
Oxford University Press. This wonderful and highly readable book covers
every element in great detail. It is also available from our web store.
CAN I ORDER THE ELEMENT COLLECTION? top
Orders can be placed using a credit card via our webstore or by telephone
on 0845 130 6142.
See the Order
Form for more details.