RNZ: Elemental

RNZ: Elemental

A journey through the periodic table of elements with chemistry professor Allan Blackman, from AUT, and Alison Ballance... Show More

Episodes

December 22, 2019 12 min
Zirconium is a shape-shifting tough cookie, that is a tale of gemstones, medical implants and nuclear reactors, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 96 of Elemental.
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December 19, 2019 12 min
Zinc is a very useful metal that turns up in everything from sunscreen to paint, & galvanised metals to cereals, as well as brass instruments, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 95 of Elemental.
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Yttrium is yet another element named after the village of Ytterby and is important in the development of high temperature superconductors, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 94 of Elemental.
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Ytterbium is yet another lanthanoid named after the Swedish village of Ytterby, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 93 of Elemental.
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Xenon is a noble gas that turns up in various lights, gets used in xenon ion propulsion systems for spacecraft & plays a key role in the search for dark matter, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 92 of Elemental.
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Vanadium makes steel stronger & lighter, is being used in what will be the world's largest battery, and sea squirts are full of it, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 91 of Elemental.
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Named after the planet Uranus & associated with Hiroshima & nuclear bombs, uranium is the highest-numbered element found naturally in significant quantities on earth, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 90 of Elemental.
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Tungsten's very high melting point made it an ideal filament for incandescent light bulbs, & as it is in some enzymes it is the heaviest element used in nature, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 89 of Elemental.
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November 28, 2019 8 min
Titanium is light, strong, corrosion resistant & is used to repair broken limbs as it is able to get integrated into the bone, says Allan Blackman from AUT speaking from personal experience in ep 88 of Elemental.
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The element tin turns up in all sorts of alloys, but tin cans are - mostly - not made from tin, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, in ep 87 of Elemental.
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Isolating the element thulium was a truly laborious process that took many years, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 86 of Elemental.
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Named after Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, thorium could provide a cleaner source of nuclear power in the future, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in episode 85 of Elemental.
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November 17, 2019 8 min
Thallium is most famous for some infamous poisoned family cases & its appearance in an Agatha Christie novel solved a medical mystery, says Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 84 of Elemental.
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A discovery from the chemically prolific Swedish village of Ytterby, terbium produced the green on old TV sets & adds security to Euro notes, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT in ep 83 of Elemental.
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November 10, 2019 9 min
Tellurium is a metalloid often found with gold and the US town Telluride is named after it, says Prof Allan Blackman, in ep 82 of Elemental.
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Technetium was the first element on the periodic table to be synthesised. It is rare, radioactive and has only a few uses, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 81 of Elemental.
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The metal tantalum is usually found with the element niobium, has a very high melting point but is a 'conflict mineral', says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 80 of Elemental.
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October 31, 2019 14 min
Sulfur is responsible for some very bad smells, is the number one industrial chemical and is also an essential element, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 79 of Elemental.
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Named after a Scottish town, strontium can be highly radioactive & glow-in-the-dark, but also used in toothpaste, says Prof Allan Blackman from AUT, in ep 78 of Elemental.
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October 24, 2019 11 min
Sodium is vital for life & usually found in combinaton with other more interesting elements, says Prof Allan Blackman in ep 77 of Elemental.
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