|Bottle of antique vanadium lumps.|
A lot of people seem to have an element or two in their attic. Much to my delight, after a few decades they start to wonder why, and when they hear about my periodic table project, they decide that I can give their elements a good home where they will be lovingly cared for and displayed for the enjoyment of the whole world. My interview on NPR's Science Friday radio show general several donations like this, including a highly radioactive Fiestaware bowl. But I was amazed when the producer of the show, Charles Bergquist, himself said "oh by the way, I have these elements that have been sitting around...". He donated vanadium, which is the second-hardest-to-get element in the first complete row of 18 elements (second only to scandium, which is truly hard to get).
The lumps were all covered with a thick layer of oxide from decades of exposure to the air, but I've scraped off one of them so you can see the solid metal that remains inside each lump. They are far from consumed by oxidation. For the time being I'm going to leave them alone, because cleaning them would only accelerate the oxidation process. Some day I plan to find a source for sealable clear Mylar bags that I can fill with helium to preserve these sorts of samples. Then I'll carefully clean all the oxide off and seal the shiny lumps up in a bag.
Source: Charles Bergquist
Contributor: Charles Bergquist
Acquired: 14 August, 2002
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009