Source for Uranium Metal?

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HighVoltageFox
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by HighVoltageFox » Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:41 am

Well.. I have found a very detailed discription of how to extract uranium, from a uranium supplier/manufacturer.
I have done this and will post the page as soon as I refind it, I also emailed them and they said that it was relitivly safe except the methanol solvent used. The only problem is you need a lot of ground up ore to extract very much uranium.
Andrew

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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by HighVoltageFox » Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:46 am


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Carl Willis
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Carl Willis » Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:44 am

Uranium metal itself is never an intermediate in the industrial refining of ores. The easiest way to make it on a small scale is by reducing its tetrafluoride with calcium shavings in a crucible under argon or other inert gas. It's darn-near impossible to make a nice solid hunk of metal through this process, however--it comes out spongy or granular, in perfect form to catch on fire as soon as it gets out in the air. Last point bears repeating: you are making a pyrophoric metal foam that, chances are, is going to burn with significant repercussions to the breathability of the local air supply!

Some folks have managed to get this reaction to work. Maybe they use magnesium instead of calcium? Maybe they have good temperature control? Anyway, the Ohio Department of Health now owns the fruits of one gentleman's labors: a spongy black blob that could fit in a small Dixie cup. I don't know the whole story of who cooked this up or why, but I have personally seen this item.

Chemically extracting uranium out of its ores, where it is present with many other elements including rare earths, usually is pretty involved--that is, if you aspire to any degree of purity. In the lab, a multi-stage aqueous-organic solvent extraction of the "Purex" type using uranyl nitrate and tributylphosphate is likely to work well. This would entail dissolving uranium ore in strong nitric acid and then separating into an organic phase made up of tributylphosphate in kerosene. Following several back-and-forths between an acid / aqueous phase and organic, the worker who wants to go on and make U metal would precipitate the final uranyl salt solution as U(IV) fluoride by adding HF. The mixture of nitric acid and kerosene during extraction is highly explosive. If anything goes wrong, the consequences would be severe. Even a small boo-boo is likely to explosively disperse your highly corrosive (and rather radioactive) leachate into the far corners of carpets, floorboards, drywall, etc. and the air. You'll never clean it up!

There's nothing casual, safety-wise, about these processes. If only they were as safe as using a methanol solvent!

-Carl
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by UG! » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:21 am

i would urge anyone planning to do anything involving radioactive chemistory to first perform a similer process with potassium permanganate or rhodamine and water. then when they see how any chemicals tend to get EVERYWHERE not just in the preperation stage, but when you take off your gloves and wash your hands, then when you wasy your face beffore bed, then the next morning after its rained and there are pritty spots evrywhere you walked then a month later when you use some totaly unrelated pece of equipment and so on.

i have done and will continue to do many dangerious things. radioactve wet chemistory will not be one of them (at least not outside of a properly equiped establishment.)

Oliver

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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by 3l » Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:53 pm

Hi Richard:

We government types do have some rationallity backed by science.
Where the country screws up is when you get some low level wanker to enforce policy with the ability to read but dumb as a box of rocks.

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech and DIA Man

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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by HighVoltageFox » Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:31 pm

If done correctaly the uranium solutions should never be directly exposed to the air and the used chemicals disposed of. It may require extensive setting up but the uranium never needs to be out of the system, and I put the U metal in a vial of mineral oil as to avoid fire and oxidation.

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Mark Rowley
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Mark Rowley » Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:45 pm

Andrew,
The oxide MUST be reduced in some way to make it a metal. That means the oxide must be retrieved from the system and transferred to a reducing "bomb" which employs the thermite process. Usually magnesium is used. Research the "Ames Process" for more details. Anyway, the leftover muck from this process is known to be quite messy. The reduction chambers also have a tendency to explode in the process sending hot molten debris along with the oxide in all directions.

I believe I would take up skydiving or tornado chasing before attempting this one !

Mark Rowley

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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by HighVoltageFox » Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:30 am

ohh.. well hell no I wouldn't ever try to reduce the UO3 in to pure U, that would be suicidal in a small lab. I only take it as far as oxide grains. Its good enough for nuclear reactors so I thought that uranium oxide is the best I could ever achive on such a small scale. It will still work for neutron activation experiments so why spend the money for pure U when UO3/UO8 works fine?
I didn't realize that you were looking so far into the enrichment section of the page, there is no way any one could do the enrichment process with out huge industrial machines. No way should anyone make uranium tetrafloride because after that it is a gas and is totaly unpredictable and highly corrosive.

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Mark Rowley
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Mark Rowley » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:02 am

The UO2 gets converted to UF4(still a solid) and then to the thermite reduction process. No enrichment yet. Thats way later.

Mark Rowley

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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by JohnCuthbert » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:11 pm

Would it be dull to point out that if you got hold of 15Lbs of uranium as the ore and refined the uranium metal from it (Illegal, unsafe and dangerous as this may be) you would (in Bq terms) have rather more radioactive stuff left behind in the waste. I may have the physics or maths wrong here (and, if so would someoone please let me know) but, IIRC there's about a dozen daughter products and, in an old rock, they will all be in eqm with the U. That gives about a dozen times the activity of the uranium. The figure I have for natural U is 25.4KBq/g ie 11.5 MBq/ Lb or 173 MBq for 15 Lbs.
The daughters would add up to about 2 G Bq
Does anyone really want responsibillity for safe disposal of that?

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