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Thread: Help with project involving periodic table

  1. #1 Help with project involving periodic table 
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    Hi, I am doing a physical science project where the student is assigned an element and must make a t-shirt about it. The teacher already made a template which I filled out, but we're also supposed to add a unique twist to the t-shirt based off of the element's properties, uses, etc. I got stuck with the element lanthanum (atomic number 67), which does have some interesting uses and background, but there's not really a common theme. Anyone willing to give me some ideas on the design of my t-shirt?


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  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    You could go with the alternative fuels route... Lanthanum alloys are used in both nickel-metal hydride batteries in hybrid cars and in hydrogen storage systems used in hydrogen powered vehicles.

    You could also go with a "light" or "imaging" theme, lanthanum (or its alloys/compounds) are used in camera lenses to improve the clarity of the produced image they are also used in carbon arc lights used in the film industry, they are used in lighter flints, lanthanum boride is used in the electron source in electron microscopes. Lanthanum fluoride is added to the glass used in fibre optics and is present in the phosphor coating of in tube lights.


    Last edited by PhDemon; November 27th, 2018 at 05:41 AM. Reason: typo
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHalcon View Post
    Hi, I am doing a physical science project where the student is assigned an element and must make a t-shirt about it. The teacher already made a template which I filled out, but we're also supposed to add a unique twist to the t-shirt based off of the element's properties, uses, etc. I got stuck with the element lanthanum (atomic number 67), which does have some interesting uses and background, but there's not really a common theme. Anyone willing to give me some ideas on the design of my t-shirt?
    PhDemon has given you ideas based on applications of lanthanum.

    An alternative is to make a reference to the "Lanthanide Contraction", a well known effect in the Periodic Table, whereby the elements of the 3rd transition series resemble those of the 2nd, even though one might expect them to be bigger atoms with different properties. More here from the Wiki article on it:

    "The elements following the lanthanides in the periodic table are influenced by the lanthanide contraction. The radii of the period-6 transition metals are smaller than would be expected if there were no lanthanides, and are in fact very similar to the radii of the period-5 transition metals, since the effect of the additional electron shell is almost entirely offset by the lanthanide contraction.[2]
    For example, the atomic radius of the metal zirconium, Zr, (a period-5 transition element) is 159 pm and that of hafnium, Hf, (the corresponding period-6 element) is 156 pm. The ionic radius of Zr4+ is 79 pm and that of Hf4+ is 78 pm. The radii are very similar even though the number of electrons increases from 40 to 72 and the atomic mass increases from 91.22 to 178.49 g/mol. The increase in mass and the unchanged radii lead to a steep increase in density from 6.51 to 13.35 g/cm3.
    Zirconium and hafnium therefore have very similar chemical behaviour, having closely similar radii and electron configurations. Radius-dependent properties such as lattice energies, solvation energies, and stability constants of complexes are also similar.[1] Because of this similarity hafnium is found only in association with zirconium, which is much more abundant, and was discovered as a separate element 134 years later (in 1923) than zirconium (discovered in 1789). Titanium, on the other hand, is in the same group but differs enough from those two metals that it is seldom found with them.


    Maybe an image of something shrinking. "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"? It would be a test to see who gets it - and might lead to a classroom discussion of the effect.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHalcon View Post
    Hi, I am doing a physical science project where the student is assigned an element and must make a t-shirt about it. The teacher already made a template which I filled out, but we're also supposed to add a unique twist to the t-shirt based off of the element's properties, uses, etc. I got stuck with the element lanthanum (atomic number 67), which does have some interesting uses and background, but there's not really a common theme. Anyone willing to give me some ideas on the design of my t-shirt?
    Slightly surprised - this is the first time I have heard of this element!
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  6. #5  
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    You could go for sci fi fantasy. A crazy eyed, wild haired scientist pours a chemical from one beaker to another. The word Lanthanum below in "The Munsters" lettering.

    An advertising theme would show many uses of it displayed fanned out like a candy company ad. I've seen ads from weapons companies in International Defense Review magazine displayed like that.

    Draw or photoshop a picture of a (robot?) superhero with a description of his super powers being the properties of it.

    A sexy car named "The Lanthanum" with its properties as if they are the specs of the car.

    Put them all together. A mad scientist building a transformer car superhero with lanthanum parts fanned out with a description bubble next to each part with the lanthanum property of the parts.
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