We've always been interested in the elements, and fascinated by the periodic table. Element Cubes are a fun, and attention-grabbing way of collecting the elements. These 10mm cubes are available in some of your favourite metals, and look great as a shelf display! Luciteria is located in Washington State, USA and produces collectible Element cubes with a purity of over 99.5% guaranteed (some are as close as 99.9%).
In engineering density cubes serve as references against which to test target metals of unknown purity. As normally available for sale they are rather crude and functional. Luciteria has turned this little niche into art with smooth precision-cut facets replacing rough-sawn sides and a neat laser engraved label letting you know at a glance which element you're holding. All are made to exacting tolerances and ship in foam sleeves to protect the beautifully parallel edges and corners. From the lightest of metals like magnesium and aluminum to the heaviest like tungsten, and from the industry standard 10mm up to hand-filling 50mm's, each density cube is an instant keepsake that you may well prefer to never put to the mundane use they were originally designed for!
Collecting elements is a fun way to learn about chemistry and nature in general. Anyone can start a collection of chemical elements as many are easily found even right in your home. Ordinary pencil lead is actually carbon and, speaking of lead, this one can also be easily found as fishing line sinkers in any hardware store. Except sinkers are increasingly being made of bismuth instead as it's more friendly to the environment.
Of the 92 naturally occurring elements over 80 are collectible with probably half of those being relatively easy to find in close to pure form. These cubes are in their natural, original form and are unpolished and have not been altered.
Each purchase is for a set of either four or five 10mm cube only (pictured are other sizes also) and are strictly for ages 14 or older, these cubes are small and can be swallowed easily by children.
- Aluminium - To really appreciate how special aluminium is - a metal typically appreciated only by streetside recyclers - you should hold it next to one of the heavier cubes of the same size like tungsten. Compared this way they feel almost immaterial, like you could toss it in the air and it would float, The whitest of all the metals. Silver is more reflective but side by side silver appears, well, silvery where aluminum looks white, white, white. Of course, when highly polished those distinctions disappear - we're talking about appearance as normally encountered.
- Chromium - The ubiquity of chrome plating on plastic parts of every sort has infused an undeserved reputation for cheapness to this metal. This is because the chemical application of a thin coating of chromium is an effective way to prevent corrosion at the same time it provides a super-shiny surface. Pure chromium metal on the other hand is an altogether different beast. It is exceptionally hard - perhaps the hardest of all pure metals - but it is also brittle making it unsuitable to make solid parts from. On the other hand it is so resistant to corrosion that injecting 10-20% into a blob of molten iron gives birth to "stainless steel".
- Copper - Nature's only red metal. Copper is delicate. Avoid touching it with your bare hands. The oils and acids will stain it permanently.
- Iron - Iron, the pure metal, is a deceptively difficult metal to find. The ordinary nail that you'd use on a two-by-four, and the head of the hammer you'd nail it with, are both made of "iron", yes, but both have small amounts of other elements added to improve various properties. A nail made of 99.9% pure iron such as offered in these cubes, for example, might be both more expensive (because of the added refinery steps required to get to this level or purity) and simultaneously more prone to breaking or bending all wrong when hammered. So practically nobody uses pure iron for anything.
- Nickel - This hard-wearing metal is a staple of the steel industry. Because of its hardness it makes for a great metal from which to make tools and coins and machine parts that encounter friction but its use as pure metal is less common because it is more expensive than steel while not significantly harder.
- Silicon - Has properties that are halfway between a metal and a ceramic. While a piece of high-purity silicon looks like a metal when you hold it in your hand it feels like no metal you're used to and, should you be so careless as to drop it, it might shatter into a million little pieces just like glass (which, by the way, is nothing more than oxidised silicon!
- Titanium - What's more valuable than gold and platinum? Titanium, if you go by credit card marketers who apparently figure this must be the ultimate mark of exclusivity. In truth, titanium is dirt common. Sand common to be more exact. Go to any beach and a handful of sand is bound to have some rutile which is titanium's main ore. If there was any doubt about it being a common metal consider that hundreds of thousands of tons of titanium each year wind up in.... wait for it.... paint cans! Titanium oxide is what gives paint its opaque body. A perfect white for hospital halls and, of course, every wall in every house and building since all paints start out as white and are turned into all the colours of the rainbow only after dyes are swirled in.
- Zinc - It's a pity zinc is such an unloved metal. It's the metal of shanty towns and garbage cans. But when a very pure block of zinc is milled to a polished sheen it has a downright classy look with the slightest tinge of blue. It is a delicate luster so keep it lightly oiled or waxed as it otherwise tends to dull in air if left out for a long time.