The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles
October 17, 2017, 06:07:56 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Brassgoggles.co.uk - The Lighter Side Of Steampunk, follow @brasstech for forum technical problems & updates.
 
   Home   Blog Help Rules Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Radiationhazard by Radiumpaint in old clockworks?  (Read 6219 times)
Semonius
Gunner
**
Netherlands Netherlands



« on: November 05, 2011, 05:55:59 pm »

Found this video on youtube...

I found it worth sharing.




videocomment:
Creating jewelry with old clock and watch parts is a fun art form, but one must be aware that old watch and clock faces and hands are sometimes coated with radium paint. The radiation levels measured here are not particularly dangerous UNLESS this radium coating falls of and gets inhaled or swallowed. Then some unlucky internal organ will get a constant close-up dose of radiation. Not so good.

If you're going to be disassembling old clocks to harvest gears and other parts, please consider borrowing or buying a radiation meter for your safety and that of the people who buy your steampunk creations.


Logged

oriental wise men say:

man can not have feet on ground and head in clouds.

..unless very tall man.
von Corax
Squire of the Lambda Calculus
Moderator
Immortal
*
Canada Canada

Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2011, 07:58:20 am »

An excellent point, and one no doubt often overlooked by those of us not directly involved in the watchmaker's trade. Here are a few links which might be of interest:

SparkFun's USB Geiger Counter
Geiger Counter articles at Hack A Day
More articles at Hack A Day
Logged

By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
By the Beans of Life do my thoughts acquire speed
My hands acquire a shaking
The shaking becomes a warning
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
The Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics is 5838 km from Reading
Abslomrob
Deck Hand
*
Canada Canada



WWW
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2011, 08:43:35 pm »

Some important notes.

Lume paint primarily consists of two active compounds.  One is the radioactive material and the other is a luminescent material.  I point this out because typically the luminescent material becomes inert after a couple of decades.  The radioactive compound, however, is typically still active.  So don't assume that because the paint doesn't glow that it isn't radioactive.

The radioactive part of the compound, in watches made prior to the 40's, was most commonly radium.  Radium is reasonably safe as long as it's inside the watch, and the case is intact.  The radioactive energy that is able to escape through the crystal is usually fairly weak; similar to sun exposure.  Very little energy makes it through the watch and out the back to your arm.  Radium has a half life of 1600 years, so your radium based parts will still be radioactive for many thousands of years.  The main risk of Radium comes from inhalation or ingestion.  If inhaled, it tends to get stuck in the lungs, where it sits irradiating your lung tissue forever.  If injested, your body can't distinguish between radium and calcium, which means that usually it will end up getting flushed from your body.  However, there is a chance that your body will use it to do things that it normally does with calcium.  Like build bones.  Which means you'll have a chunk of radium sitting in your skeleton.  Not good.

Past the 40's, most consumer watches switched over to Tritium.  Tritium is a hydrogen based radioactive substence (the "tri" in tritium refers to the 3 hydrogen atoms in its structure).  Tritium is fairly low energy, and typically you'll get little or no reading outside of the case.  As with radium, there is a risk of inhalation and ingestion.  Past the 90's, even tritium paste has been phased out, and modern watches use sealed glass tritium vials.  Tritium only has a half life of about 6 years, so often the tritium will be inert before the luminescent.

There there is the category of "other".  Back before people realized how dangerous radioactive stuff was, companies would experiment with other radioactive substances in an effort to differentiate their products (usually to make them brighter).  Brighter tends to mean "more energy"; I've seen some dials/hands with crazy levels of radiation; no idea what they used.  I've seen references to the use of Strontium 90 in the 40's though.
Logged

All my vintages are at http://www.abslomrob.com
citizen_erased
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Netherlands Netherlands


kojitmal
WWW
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 10:02:06 pm »

I am a complete noob when it comes to things like this, so sorry if I ask stupid questions (but hey, no such things as stupid questions, right? Wink ), but, say if one brought a geiger counter along before buying old clocks and the like, would that work?

I also bought (and took apart) an old clock a while ago, that was basically completely open case, is there a chance there was something dangerous in there?
Logged

Sometimes I vlog: www.youtube.com/realkojitmal
(I even once did a steampunk related video!)

There`s a blog too: http://kojitmal.wordpress.com
Atterton
Time Traveler
****

Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2011, 10:29:03 pm »

I think the problem would be that you would be exposed to more radiation once you remove the glass cover. So any measurements done while the clock is still intact, wouldn´t really be valid.
Logged

Resurrectionist and freelance surgeon.
citizen_erased
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Netherlands Netherlands


kojitmal
WWW
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2011, 10:32:04 pm »

I think the problem would be that you would be exposed to more radiation once you remove the glass cover. So any measurements done while the clock is still intact, wouldn´t really be valid.

the glass cover is intact, however, on the back there are several open spots, where you can see the white from the clock-thing itself.
Logged
Abslomrob
Deck Hand
*
Canada Canada



WWW
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2011, 10:41:02 pm »

In a general sense, you don't need to be worried about radiation exposure if you're just looking at the thing; its the long-term effect that's a concern, and that's only going to be a problem if you buy the thing and put it beside your bed, or if you have, say, 100 of them.  The big concern is from the perspective of taking the thing apart and disturbing the radioactive paint.  American military watches from the 70's onward have radiation symbols and warnings on them, even though they only use Tritium (or theoretically, Promethium), because while the radiation risk is low for a single watch, it becomes more problematic when you've got 1000's of them to dispose of.
Logged
citizen_erased
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Netherlands Netherlands


kojitmal
WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2011, 10:45:55 pm »

so if I just took the gears and didn`t do anything to the mostly-closed-off part with the numbers and stuff, and just put everything else aside, I should be fine?


Really, if it was just me here I wouldn`t even be bothered that much, but I have 4 housemates that I`m pretty close with, and I don`t feel much like causing trouble for them too. (plus I worry easily :p )
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.048 seconds with 17 queries.