Suppliers of rare gases?

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Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby Jerry » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:28 am

Anyone know where I might be able to pick up some small glass flasks of neon and maybe xenon? I want to try some neon type stuff.
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby johnf » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:03 am

Jerry
We regularly use neon for our sputter ion sources and buy it from Matheson ie the little bottles about 2' high 5" diameter

xenon on the other hand is very expensive and we have a small flyspray type container from Germany with this in --and it cost several neon Matheson bottles as above.\

If you need some neon go and see your local sign makers and make a bargain, it has to be cheaper !!
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby Doug Coulter » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:20 am

I got my neon at Matheson too, and it's not cheap. Glantz is another source (they are a sign supply outfit) and no, it's not cheaper there either.
Believe it or not, Neon is a hazmat to both, and when I got my bottle, it was on its own pallet and the only thing in the truck, which added substantially to the costs. The bottle, hasmat shipping etc were about a grand, then the gas had to be paid for - about another half grand for what I got. Insane, but since that was the case, I got a lot of it, the gas was the cheap part of dealing with those guys. (this was true of deuterium as well -- paying $400 for the knee high cylinder, empty? Gheez -- it wasn't even new.)

Jerry, if you can put together a cylinder with the right valve etc...I can xfer some for you -- couple hundred psi in a small bottle? That works out to a lot the way anyone uses it. Glantz was selling single liters at STP in glass flasks for hundreds -- which is a lot more than I paid per liter for mine, even counting the ripoff prices I wound up paying for my large bottle.
I suggest that idea because if I have to scrounge a cylinder and prep it up for a rare gas, it's expensive for me to do that too. If all I have to do is hook it to my plumbing and bake it out and make the xfer, not so bad. Something like an old small welding Ar cylinder would do -- right valve, and they are pretty cheap -- and not so polluted inside considering what was in there.

Xenon and Krypton are insane right now. Between NASA and CERN, it's all bought up -- and the lighting guys get all the Krypton. However, there are a fair number of Xenon thyratrons out there, and flash tubes etc, so if a little is needed, you can recover from them. Most of those are at 2 atm, so it shouldn't (famous last words) be that hard to recover, if super purity isn't much issue.
Probably a couple of liters each in those big thyratrons I've got. You could arrange to break one inside a tight vacuum system and catch it coming out of the pumps or something like that.

Or a small cylinder could be filled with small breakable flash tubes and a metal ball, pulled down to vacuum, then shaken vigorously to break the tubes.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby chrismb » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:13 am

Oh boy! I was just about to ask for some quotes for Xe and Kr... sounds like I needn't bother!.... in fact, of the typical gases for spectrometry/resonance work that I could do with, deuterium sounds like it might actually be the cheapest!!!!?!
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby Doug Coulter » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:29 pm

Check out welding gases for cheap. They tend to be really dry and mostly pure, and are cheap most places. That gets you argon, (and argon in mixes you probably don't want, read the label), Helium, Oxygen, Nitrogen...and of course various hydrocarbons. I have them all, I like having a lotta different gases to play with.

The deal with the "exotic" gas suppliers is this: They want to either rent you the tank -- they hit Chad for $16/mo for a lecture bottle of D, but if you want to buy outright, they charge maybe 5x the price you'd get at the friendly welding gas store. That's most of the cost, almost no matter the gas! Many welding gas outfits won't but some will, sell you a tank and exchange it thereafter, that's the best deal over the long run by far. They then absorb the cost of the periodic hydrostatic test. I'm lucky to have some good pals in that business, so that's the deal I go with.

A few years back when I got the neon (about $500 for the gas, about $1k for the rest) Xenon was shooting up and breaking $15/liter and the gas guy was moaning he hadn't stocked up on it. Probably worse now, but again, the steel tends to be the main cost...and the regulator (the nice two stage ones at Matheson are indeed nice, but $400 too).
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby Jerry » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:58 pm

Doug, I have one of the small aluminum medical 02 cylinders, something like 4" dia, 10" long.

I will check the local sign shop. They have .9l glass flasks that contain the neon at ATM. Since you are filling at such a low pressure a little goes a long way. They also sell it in a bottle like a disposable propane cylinder.

One thing I was thinking was get some old high pressure xenon arc lamps. These things run at up tp 350psi. How to get it out. Thinking maybe taking a long tube with conflats on the ends, cap one end, slide a bunch of lamps down inside, put another cap on the other end with a valve. Evacuate it and bake it out, purge with argon a couple times, seal it off and shake violently! A friend of mine has a box of lamps, though they are the ones with a touch of Hg in them to even out the spectrum at the lower end.

I could do the same with krypton. A friend does bi weekly lamp changes on a YAG.
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby johnf » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:45 pm

Jerry
I would probably pay to put some big ball bearing in there or if you haven't got them some big stainless nuts to help the tube breakage.
Mercury should be in the form of very small droplets when the tube is cold. Gettering the mercury with some Al foil in there as well would work especially if you cook the whole thing gas and all. Foil could be attached to the lid with the tap on it and shaking done so that the foil is not damaged while breaking the glass /quartz envelopes.
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby Jerry » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:06 pm

I had though about putting some BBs in there as well and something in there to get the mercury to stick to it. I didnt know it created an amalgam with aluminum.

I am almost betting when one lamp in the chamber goes they all will. I had that happen to a box of fluorescent lamps. I had a sealed box stuffed with used lamps sitting on a sidewalk. All of the sudden one decided to implode and took ever other one with it. The sides of the box caved in. Pretty neat, really.
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby Doug Coulter » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:43 pm

I was unaware of Hg and Al amalgam too. I knew Al would "go" with Ga, but didn't know Hg -- but Hg does that with a lot of things (not iron!), and some of them reduce the vapor pressure well.
I'd try powdered lead, myself, but that's me. Cheap. Sodium would be fun too but probably not lower the vapor pressure enough.

I'd just chill the tank or use a dry ice trap unless I was looking for spectral grade gas. I think you want something heavier than BB's to break quartz thickwall. Maybe some big SS nuts or balls.
But not having done this yet (and I have another gas I'm interested in that's in a lot of little glass tubes, about 3/16" diameter by a few inches) I don't know. I'd love to hear of an attempt, because the gas I want to do this with is kind of hard to find....at all, much less for decent dough. The tiny amount I have would result in the cylinder being below atmosphere after breaking the tubes, unless I can find a lot more of those that "fell off a truck". They can glow prettily on my shelf till I get around to that.

Side note: you can make decent amounts of sodium no problem just electrolyzing concentrated salt solution if mercury is one of the electrodes. When it gets hard, you've "filled it up" and have plenty of time to pour out the liquid before it re-reacts with it. Then you can distill the mercury off if you want. This is a lot more friendly for small amounts than working with molten Lye.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Suppliers of rare gases?

Postby Jerry » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:00 pm

That wasnt a walmart truck, by chance? ;)
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