Tin

Vicky Bogart

Tin foil was once common wrapping material for drugs and foods, such as chocolate. Replaced by aluminum foil, tin foil is still used as a generic term for silver metal that comes in thin sheets. Tin cans, tin ceiling panels, and corrugated building sheathing are more often made of steel or aluminum with a coating of tin to inhibit rust.

Tin is alloyed with copper to produce bronze, and with copper, antimony and lead to produce pewter. If someone called you a “tinnie”, you might be one who enjoys a can of beer.

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Gold

Vicky Bogart

The Midas Touch, gold leaf, gold dust, gold bar, gold medals, gold coins, gold trophies, gold threads, goldfish, heart of gold, gold ribbon, gold star, golden moon, goldenrod, band of gold, The Golden Mean, The Golden Rule, The Golden Ratio, The Golden Feather.

Silence is Golden.

Gold has a lattice face centered cubic crystal structure. It is a tasteless, odorless, dense metal that is the most malleable of metals. One ounce can be pounded into a 300 square foot sheet. It is used in dentistry, electronics, wiring, pharmaceuticals and jewelry.

It is the Gold Standard.

Polonium

Sue Mertz

Discovered in 1898 by Pierre and Marie Curie and named after Poland. It had no known uses. Obtained from pitchblende, decay of radium. Pl;utonium became famous in 2006 when it was used to induce acute radiation sickness in Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB and KGB.  According to his doctors, Litvinenko’s murder marked the beginning of an era of nuclear terrorism.

Vanadium

Sue Mertz

Named for the Scandinavian goddess of beauty and fertility, Vanadis (Freya).

Vanadium a was first discovered in 1801 by a Mexican scientist who later withdrew his claim, and later rediscovered by Nils Gabriel Sefstrom, a Swedish chemist in 1830. It is sometimes used to make special tubes and pipes for the chemical industry. Vanadium penotxide is its most useful compound.  It is used as a mordant which permanently fixes dyes to fabrics.A silk portrait of the goddess is machine appliquéd over the multi hued background of grey, the test tubes show the various colors achieved as it decays.

Bromine

Bromine is primarily found in the ocean and in brine pools as a colorless crystalline mineral salt. At room temperature it is a fuming, toxic and corrosive liquid.

Bromine has many uses in our daily lives. It spends time in hot tubs around the world. Bromine is to hot water what chlorine is to cold. It helps kill all kinds of bacteria and things we don’t want floating around in the hot tub with us. Bromine is also a primary ingredient in the fire retardant applied to children’s pajamas – over 250,000 tons of bromine are consumed in fire retardant production. Formerly used in pesticides, bromine is found to be highly reactive to sunlight and is very effective at ozone depletion. Due to this unwanted side-effect, bromine use has been abandoned as a pesticide ingredient. Amazingly enough, bromine is also found in lemon/lime soft drinks – including Mountain Dew – and is responsible for that almost glow-in-the-dark yellow/green color.

To interpret this element as a quilt, I used a Mountain Dew kerchief as the background and then a photo transfer of “baby Jeanne” in some pjs that we assume were treated with fire retardant. The spiral of wool roving “smoke” represents the noxious fumes while the white button attempts to represent the bromine tablets that are used in spas and hot tubs.

Gallium

Gallium, as represented in this original cartoon drawing, is based on one of the tales told in Sam Kean’s book The Disappearing Spoon and other tales of madness, love and the history of the world from the periodic table of the Elements. Kean does a remarkable job sharing the stories behind the discovery of the elements in an interesting and very readable book, even for those of us non chemistry majors.

Gallium has one of the lowest melting points of any of the elements at 84 degrees Fahrenheit and was used as a practical joke by chemists when they molded spoons out of the metal and then watched the spoon disappear as their guests were served hot tea or soup. Today, other applications for gallium include electronic uses as a laser light in CD players, in LEDs and as a semi-conductor in computer chips.