Jump to content


Photo

Tritium vials

  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 BSJ

BSJ

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1289
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Grand Isle, VT

Posted 12 April 2013 - 07:35 AM

Anyone know where to get Tritium vials?

Preferably some place that doesn't require paypal...

#2 Jarrod

Jarrod

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1187
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2013
  • Loc: SE USA

Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:17 AM

IF you can get them (there are legal issues as these are strictly regulated items), then these folks might know:

http://www.mbmicrotec.com/en/contacts

#3 Steve Daniel

Steve Daniel

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 124
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Austin, TX

Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:12 AM

Uh... what are tritium vials and what are they used for?

#4 BSJ

BSJ

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1289
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Grand Isle, VT

Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:26 AM

They have a very small amount of Tritium in them that glow in the dark, without the need for "charging". Often used in firearm and bow sights.

I could get some sights and cut them up, but it would be easier to just get the vials themselves...

#5 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2924
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:18 AM

Used on wristwatches as well,popular with the military,Marathon are one company that uses them for watches suplied to US and Canadian forces, Traser, Luminox are others,they have a half life of about 10yrs, this stuff is mildly radioactive and as such has the radioactive logo on the watch dial, lots of restrictions on how the stuff is used or shipped,DA.

#6 Jarrod

Jarrod

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1187
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2013
  • Loc: SE USA

Posted 12 April 2013 - 04:15 PM

The glow comes from phosphorescent material in the tube, not the tritium itself. But rather than being "charged" by exposure to visible light as in typical glow-in-the-dark material, this material is continuously charged by the energetic beta-particle that is released when Tritium decays to Helium 3.

#7 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11468
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 12 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

So, after a few years, will you talk funny? :lol:

#8 hottr6

hottr6

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2505
  • Joined: 28 Jun 2009
  • Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM

Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:37 AM

Whats wrong with PayPal?

#9 mich_al

mich_al

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2463
  • Joined: 10 May 2009
  • Loc: Rural central lower Michigan Yellow Skies

Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:51 AM

Whats wrong with PayPal?

:bigshock: :gotpopcorn:

#10 DaveJ

DaveJ

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1776
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2005
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 13 April 2013 - 01:46 PM

Whats wrong with PayPal?

:bigshock: :gotpopcorn:


Perhaps Shane has worn one-too-many glow-in-the-dark watches? :shrug:

#11 caheaton

caheaton

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1628
  • Joined: 26 May 2009
  • Loc: SW Ohio

Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:47 AM

I wear a Luminox...sadly there's no radioactive logo anywhere on the watch face (wish there was...that would be cool). It does use tritium markers however on the hands and hours. From what I've read online, they do leak a bit of x-ray radiation beyond the watch itself but it's weak. The particle radiation itself is blocked by the watch itself. It's a joy to use at night while at the scope...now more fumbling to press the button like on my old watch!

#12 JAT Observatory

JAT Observatory

    NOT a Wimp

  • *****
  • Posts: 9492
  • Joined: 20 Feb 2005
  • Loc: In the Primordial Soup

Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:50 AM

I have 2 watches by Marathon both of them have a radiation logo. The logos on the Marathons are there so the watch complies with the mil-spec. My son also has a luminox no logo on that one either.

Posted Image

#13 Doug D.

Doug D.

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2742
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:17 PM

Nice watch Marcus - I have a Marathon SAR as well that has the radiation logo but no tritium vials. The manufacturer made a mistake on that run so it is kind of a rare curiosity. It is still a great watch!

#14 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11468
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:44 PM

Lots of radiation, no logos or vials though.... :lol:

#15 Jarrod

Jarrod

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1187
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2013
  • Loc: SE USA

Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:35 PM

The radiation exposure we are talking about from these watches is miniscule - and the tiny bit of energy that *is* released, gets absorbed by the phosphorescent material in the tube, before it ever reaches you anyway.

They do work great at star parties, though:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#16 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20630
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:14 PM

You could get tritium vial gunsights and pull the vials.

Regards,

Jim

#17 JohnH

JohnH

    Vanguard

  • ****-
  • Posts: 2187
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Squamish BC Moved!!!!!

Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:17 PM

I remembered ordering this for my massive scope from my old hunting rifle. When it came through Canada Customs, the officer in charge left a handwritten note saying this item was exempt from statutes regarding nuclear materials.

It came from Austria and still had Russian lettering on the package and a badly translated guide. In the daylight, it was this thick grayish stuff with a hint of green glow. In the dark, this vial cast enough light to read by a foot away.

It came with a set of incredibly tiny brushes and the guide told you NOT to lick the brushes to shape or damp them.

I also brought a bit to school for a project and put some on a slide to look under microscope with and you could see the individual scintillations

#18 JAT Observatory

JAT Observatory

    NOT a Wimp

  • *****
  • Posts: 9492
  • Joined: 20 Feb 2005
  • Loc: In the Primordial Soup

Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:29 PM

Hopefully the stuff you got was not radium paint, which is completely different than Tritium. Radium paint is hazardous and exposure should be avoided.

#19 Starman1

Starman1

    Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 23403
  • Joined: 23 Jun 2003
  • Loc: Los Angeles

Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:45 PM

Hmm.
I have a Seiko watch with a phosphorescent face that glows in the dark for 4-6 hours after exposure to 10 minutes of sun. I can still read the face at 3am if i bother to put my glasses on to read the hand positions.
No radioactive material, and WAAAAY dimmer than an indiglo luminous dial.
It's worked great for well over 20 years, now.
The hands aren't phosphorescent, so display as dark against a lighter background.

#20 phreon

phreon

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2012

Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:49 PM

JohnH,

Tritium is a gas. What you have sounds like Radium paint, which is not to be trifled it. Hopefully you have it stored in a well sealed container. In that state it is safe, but if spilled, a bona fide hazmat situation.

#21 Billydee

Billydee

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 693
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Winter Haven, FL

Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:58 PM

Older clock and watch dials were hand painted with Radium paint. The brush that the workers used was very fine and to keep the brush tip at a sharp point the workers would wet the bristles with their lips. Guess what happened to most of the workers. Radium was used because it is in nature and lasts a long time. Watch out for old watches.

Bill

#22 bierbelly

bierbelly

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6642
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2004
  • Loc: Sterling, VA

Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:57 AM

JohnH,

Tritium is a gas. What you have sounds like Radium paint, which is not to be trifled it. Hopefully you have it stored in a well sealed container. In that state it is safe, but if spilled, a bona fide hazmat situation.


IIRC, radium dials had a slightly yellow hue to the paint. While tritium, per se, is indeed a gas (it's heavy hydrogen), it has chemical reactivity similar to normal hydrogen...thus, it can be reacted with various other elements to form compounds: with oxygen it forms "heavy water". I expect that it can be used in forming plastics like polypropylene, wherein some of the hydrogen atoms are tritium atoms, which retain their radioactivity even when bound-up in the polymer chain.

#23 Footbag

Footbag

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6246
  • Joined: 13 Apr 2009
  • Loc: Scranton, PA

Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:01 AM

I don't know if this helps, but I Googled Tritium keychain. It seems like people sell the vials and keychains seperately and you assemble them. This may help the OP.

#24 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2924
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:55 AM

Older clock and watch dials were hand painted with Radium paint. The brush that the workers used was very fine and to keep the brush tip at a sharp point the workers would wet the bristles with their lips. Guess what happened to most of the workers. Radium was used because it is in nature and lasts a long time. Watch out for old watches.

Bill


Also in the wartime it was the choice for aircraft instruments,a few years back an old military instrument shed in the UK was still glowing in the dark after all these years,DA.

#25 JohnH

JohnH

    Vanguard

  • ****-
  • Posts: 2187
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Squamish BC Moved!!!!!

Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:57 PM

The last time I checked, after 14 years, the stuff still glows very strongly in the classic greenish/yellow.

Considering Tritium has a shortish half-life, I think you might be correct in this being a Radium-based illumination paint.

I hadn't thought it could be anything other than Tritium. Where would the Russians get Radium? Hardly cost effective, especially considering you make Tritium in a nucwear weactor






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics