INTRODUCTION: URANIUM LAMP!
It’s been quite a while since I last made an Instructable. But I recently built something that made me come out of retirement. Then I noticed the indoor lighting contest and knew the planets had aligned. Ok lets go.
I came across uranium glass somewhere along my travels. It fascinated me and I had to have some. My taste is eclectic. I like things with bells and whistles. I like things with gears and pulleys, electronic doodles, fire and flashing lights. And I like things that shine. Uranium glass glows under UV light. I’ll say “glow” because it’s easier to write, but what we’re actually showing here is fluorescence. Knowing the difference isn’t necessary for this Instructable, but it’s worth learning if for no other reason than to correct people at parties. They will love it!
In this Instructable, we will construct a lamp that uses the fluorescent properties of uranium to indirectly illuminate a room. Instead of the LEDs lighting up the room, the light from the LEDs will hit the uranium atoms in the glass and cause those atoms to emit light of a completely different wavelength. This is our uranium lamp!
Full disclosure: I’ve already built this. I don’t have pictures of the process of putting it together. You will notice that all the images are taken after the fact. Normally, this would disqualify the project as an Instructable option for me. I’m just not a fan of them. However, this build is so simple and the concept so easily and necessarily adaptable to your individual parts that I believe it will not suffer from a lack of step-by-step pictures. In other words, if you decide to recreate this Instructable, your finished product will almost certainly end up looking and possibly functioning differently enough that more
detailed pictures of my actual process would be of limited benefit. This will make more sense when we start assembling our lamp.
Uranium glass (also known as depressed glass or vaseline glass – among others) is a glass with a small amount of uranium, which gives it a distinct color (hence the name vaseline glass) and also a very distinct greenish glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. It is known to have been used since AD 79. So in addition to sewage, agriculture, education, roads, bridges and aqueducts, the Romans also gave us uranium glass. But other than that, what did the Romans ever do for us?
There are quite a few people who collect these things and it’s worth reading a bit more about. If you’re curious, here are a few links that I found particularly interesting. There’s a bit of history, as well as information on how to find it and safety concerns, in case you’re worried about uranium lying around the house. This one is from CollectorsWeekly.com and this one is from Oak Ridge Associated Universities.
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