|Cutout sheets, 20g.|
These foils (some thin, some thickish) are pure thorium metal. They were part of a larger batch purchased by Max Whitby for his commercial element collections: This bunch is the element tax I impose on any samples that pass through my hands.
It's very odd, to me at least, to think of elements like thorium and uranium as metals, but they really are ordinary metals that you can bend, roll, fabricate, etc. Of course, you wouldn't want to do any of those things without a high level of care to be sure you never came in contact with dust from the operations, as thorium dust is extremely dangerous, as is uranium dust.
These clippings are kept in The Can along with my other potentially dangerous radioactives. The Can, in turn, is now kept in The Safe, because after the acquisition of this sample I decided there was enough material in my hands that if it were ever stolen, I would be in trouble. The thief would face minimal danger unless they really completely ignored the prominent radioactive labels, but I would face a lot of questions about how I had been storing the samples and whether I had provided a proper level of security for them. I don't think anyone could argue that the current arrangement is not prudent.
The purity of this sample is listed as 99% because that's what it was labeled as, but I suspect the purity is actually significantly higher, because the company it comes from generally works only with 99.99% thorium metal. They are probably just being conservative in rating this material since they know we don't require higher purity. The source is listed as anonymous not because it's shady: This material was actually purchased in an entirely above-board and legal way from a company that supplies thorium and other chemicals to industry. They just don't want to get a lot of calls from element collectors who want to buy thorium, because they do not sell thorium to the public (way, way too much hassle and potential liability).
Interestingly, they sent this material to me packaged in a sturdy box with a hazardous-materials can inside, and inside that a lead tamale very similar to the one I made for sending a few chips of thorium to David Franco earlier:
It seems I guessed right about the correct method for shipping thorium, because these people certainly know what they are doing.
I chose this sample to represent its element in my Photographic Periodic Table Poster. The sample photograph includes text exactly as it appears in the poster, which you are encouraged to buy a copy of.
Contributor: Max Whitby of RGB
Acquired: 25 July, 2003
Text Updated: 11 August, 2007