[time-nuts] CS reservoir depletion
rvassar at rob-vassar.com
Sat Jan 15 03:57:40 UTC 2011
On Jan 13, 2011, at 5:18 PM, Rick Karlquist wrote:
> The other problem for the garage builder is that one of the Rb
> isotopes is slightly radioactive. Probably not OK to have
> in your garage.
I used to perform Rb/Sr geochronology "wet bench" chemistry in
college. Rb-87 has a half-life on the order of ~48.8 billion years.
Several multiples of the estimated age of the universe. The
potassium-40 in your own body is a much greater threat, followed by
C-14, and various natural sources, smoke detectors, camping lantern
mantles, etc... I understand the average person has several thousand
K40 decay events in their body per second.
Handling pure Rb is another thing entirely. It is quite moisture
sensitive / pyrophoric, and tends to form shock sensitive peroxides
even when submerged under oil. You really need to store the stuff in
a vacuum, or under an inert atmosphere. But since we're also
discussing Cesium, I should point out that it is actually far worse
in this regard. You could probably safely handle a small quantity of
Rb in a home lab environment for a short period of time. Pure Cesium
would be a significant risk.
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