[[Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)///Preguntas más frecuentes (FAQ)]]

[[WHAT IS THE ELEMENT COLLECTION?///¿QUÉ ES LA COLECCIÓN DE ELEMENTOS?]]
[[The Element Collection is a boxed set of all the naturally occurring elements in the periodic table. 92 chemical elements are provided as samples that can be removed from their wood presentation case to study in individual sealed glass vials engraved with an identifying chemical symbol. The samples are carefully protected for safety including a secondary ampoule for the toxic and reactive elements. The box measures approximately 50cm x 28cm x 7cm (20" x 11" x 3") and weighs 3.6kg (8lb).///La colección de elementos es un juego de todos los elementos presentes en la naturaleza. 92 elementos químicos se suministran como muestras en frascos sellados que pueden ser retiradas de su caja de madera y examinadas. Las muestras están cuidadosamente protegidas por seguridad, incluyendo un segundo contenedor de cristal para las muestras tóxicas o reactivas. La caja mide aproximadamente 50x28x7cm y pesa 3.6kg.]]

[[HOW MANY ELEMENTS ARE THERE IN THE COLLECTION?///¿CUÁNTOS ELEMENTOS HAY EN LA COLECCIÓN?]]
[[The Element Collection contains 83 pure element samples, generally filling each vial, inner tube or ampoule, and nine trace radioactive samples. See the question about the radioactive elements for further details of how the radioactive samples are presented.///La colección de elementos contiene 83 muestras puras de elementos, generalmente llenando cada frasco o ampolla, y 9 elementos traza radiactivos. Más abajo tratamos la seguridad de la presentación de las muestras radiactivas.]]

[[WHAT ABOUT OTHER VERSIONS?///¿HAY OTRAS VERSIONES?]]
[[In the past we offered other versions of the Element Collection Boxed Set with smaller samples. Unfortunately these proved to be uneconomic to manufacture. If you are on a tight budget, please consider our instalment plan described below..///En el pasado ofrecíamos una versión más económica de la colección con muestras más pequeñas. Lamentablemente no resultaba rentable su fabricación por lo que fue descatalogada. Si tiene un presupuesto limitado, consulte nuestro plan a plazos descrito más abajo.]]

[[ARE ANY ELEMENTS MISSING?///¿FALTAN ALGUNOS ELEMENTOS?]]
[[The Element Collection includes all the naturally occurring elements up to and including uranium (atomic number 92). See the question about radioactive elements for information about the form of these samples: in some cases you get only a few atoms! The collection excludes the artificially-produced transuranic elements (atomic numbers 93 to 118), which are all highly radioactive and mostly very short-lived. Almost all the transuranics are too dangerous to include in visible quantities. Sorry: no plutonium!///La colección contiene todos los elementos presentes en la naturaleza hasta el uranio (incluido), de número atómico 92. En algunos casos solamente hay algunos átomos! La colección excluye los elementos transuránicos artificialmente producidos (números atómicos 93 a 118), que son altamente radiactivos y la mayoría tienen una vida extremadamente corta. Casi todos los transuránicos son demasiado peligrosos para incluir en cantidades visibles. Lo lamentamos: nada de plutonio!]]

[[WHAT ABOUT THE RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS?///¿QUÉ OCURRE CON LOS ELEMENTOS RADIACTIVOS?]]
[[Two radioactive elements (thorium and uranium) are provided as small samples of the pure metal. Two others, radium and promethium, are presented in the form of small dabs of luminous paint. They exist in the paint in trace amounts as halides mixed with zinc sulfide, which gives off light when exposed to radiation. The remaining seven radioactives are represented by small uranium or thorium-bearing ores. These naturally occurring specimens contain complex decay chains of radioactive elements and at any given time will harbour a small quantity of the specified element. Further details, including an estimate of the number of atoms each radioactive element in the samples, are provided in the guide that accompanies the Element Collection.///Se incluyen dos elementos radiactivos (Torio y uranio) están presentes en pequeñas muestras del metal puro. Dos otros, radio y promecio, se presentan en la forma de pequeños trazos de pintura luminosa. Están presentes en la pintura como componente traza, en la forma de hálidos]]         

[[ARE THE RADIOACTIVE SAMPLES DANGEROUS?///¿SON PELIGROSAS LAS MUESTRAS RADIACTIVAS?]]
[[We take safety very seriously and have consulted both the UK Health and Safety Executive and the UK National Radiological Protection board during the development of the Element Collection. All the radioactive samples are permanently embedded in clear silicone resin contained in sealed vessels and both the amount of radioactive materials and level of radioactivity emitted are well below relevant thresholds under present legislation. The activity at the surface of the most active samples is below 1 micro Sievert, which is a level commonly encountered in the basements of some houses built on granite rocks or in the passenger compartment of a transatlantic jet. Although it is not advisable to expose yourself to any unnecessary source of radiation, the level of exposure from normal use of the Element Collection is below that encountered from everyday background sources.///Nos tomamos la seguridad muy en serio y hemos consultado tanto con las autoridades sanitarias pertinentes en Reino Unido como con el panel de protección radiológica durante el desarrollo de la colección de elementos. Todas las muestras radiactivas están permanentemente integradas en resina transparente de silicona, en contenedores sellados. Tanto la cantidad de materiales radiactivos como el nivel de radiactividad emitida están muy por debajo de los estándares de la legislación vigente. La actividad en superficie de la mayoría de las muestras activas está por debajo de 1 micro Sievert, lo cual es un nivel presente habitualmente en casas con sótanos de granito o en el pasillo de un avión de pasajeros. Aunque se desaconseja exponerse a la radiación en general, el nivel de exposición con el manejo normal de nuestra colección está por debajo de lo que se encuentra en fuentes comunes del día a día]]

AREN'T SOME OF THE NON-RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS ALSO DANGEROUS?
Yes! Some of the more toxic elements included in the Element Collection are beryllium, arsenic, bromine, mercury and thallium. Example of reactive elements include rubidium and caesium. All the samples are of course sealed inside glass tubes and stored inside the wooden case, however the risk still exists that these could be broken. Where the consequences could be significant, the samples are further protected by providing a second containment vessel within the tube. Wherever possible, the safest form of the element has been used (solid beryllium pieces rather than powder for example). The small size of the samples helps to reduce risk. Clean-up instructions are provided in the event of a spill. The Element Collection is not a toy. It should be kept in a safe place. Children should not be allowed to handle any of the hazardous samples (indicated in the accompanying documentation) unless supervised by an adult. When you purchase the Element Collection you must first return a declaration stating that you will use the product responsibly. We have produced a risk assessment which is provided to customers.

WHAT CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FORM ARE THE ELEMENTS IN?
The non-radioactive elements are presented in their pure uncombined form: the majority are metals, two are liquids (bromine and mercury) and ten are gases. Where several forms of the element exist (allotropes) the safest or commonest is generally provided. An example is phosphorus, which is supplied in the less-toxic red allotrope. See the question about the radioactive elements for more information about how they are presented. The physical form of each element varies greatly: most are presented as irregular lumps, a few as foil strips and a few as solid melted pellets. Powders are avoided both for safety and aesthetic reasons. We have gone to considerable length to source the most attractive forms of each element.

WHAT IS THE PURITY OF THE SAMPLES?
The elements are generally provided at a purity of 99.9% (3N) or better. An exception is the trace radioactive elements as explained elsewhere in this FAQ. Copies of our certificates of analysis for the platinum group metals can be provided on request.

HOW MUCH DOES THE ELEMENT COLLECTION COST?
The Element Collection with hardwood box and the full set of 7ml engraved vials (83 pure elements, nine trace samples) costs £3,925 ex VAT (for EU customers) and ex delivery. HAZMAT shipping and insurance for delivery within the UK costs around £120 depending on location. See the section on shipping below for information about ordering internationally.

WHAT ABOUT SHIPPING?
18 of the samples in the Element Collection must be sent using special HAZMAT shipping, This applies even to very small samples permanently embedded in robust acrylic blocks. The IATA regulations have no exemptions, even for the relatively small samples in the boxed set. Two of us in the company have successfully completed the necessary training and are legally authorised to ship dangerous goods. The cost varies greatly depending on your location. It can be as low as £250, but is often quite a bit more. Please contact us for an exact quote. Note that it may not be possible to ship a few elements (particularly bromine) to certain destinations. We can provide unregulated compounds (containing the prohibited element albeit not in pure form) or a close facsimile in this case.

HOW ABOUT PICKING UP THE ELEMENT COLLECTION IN LONDON AND TAKING IT HOME MYSELF ON A PLANE?
This is absolutely prohibited and you could be liable to severe penalties. You can transport the Element Collection by plane provided you remove the 18 samples classified as dangerous goods for air transport. Contact us for details,

HOW MUCH OF EACH ELEMENT DO I GET?
This varies widely depending on the cost and risks associated with each element. Wherever possible we provide large samples filling the 7ml vials. In the case of the most costly elements, such as platinum and rhodium, we sometimes provide foils. In general do our very best to provide an attractive sample visually filling the vial. Further details can be provided on request.

WHAT IF I WANT LARGER SAMPLES?
Please contact us. We will try to help.

HOW ARE THE ELEMENTS PACKAGED?
Each element is sealed in an individual glass sample tube with a black cap that is permanently bonded-on and must not be removed. These small bottles measure approximately 45mm in height and are 20mm in diameter. Air-sensitive elements are generally ampouled under argon gas or vacuum. A few dangerous elements are further protected in a second glass tube within the bottle. The chemical symbol for each element is attractively engraved onto its bottle cap and colour-coded to indicate the group in the periodic table to which the element belongs. The sample tubes are housed in individual compartments in foam-padded hardwood box measuring approximately 40cm x 20cm x 5cm. The box has a hinged lid with dual catches and is specially manufactured by our cabinet-maker using an attractive selection of hardwoods.

WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN BUYING THE COLLECTION?
The Element Collection is particularly suitable for school chemistry departments as the specimens can be passed individually around a class. The presentation set makes a handsome gift for any scientist. Chemists, geologists, mineralogists, metallurgists, and those involved in the electronics industries will find the Element Collection a valuable resource and a lasting source of interest. Lastly the Element Collection will appeal to everyone who has a sense of curiosity about the natural world.

WHAT ABOUT DISPOSAL?
The Element Collection is designed to last indefinitely. In the unlikely event that it needs to be discarded, it is important that prevailing environmental regulations are followed with regard to disposal of the toxic and radioactive samples. Everyone purchasing the Element Collection must sign an agreement taking responsibility for ultimate safe disposal.

WHY IS THE ELEMENT COLLECTION EXPENSIVE?
The price reflects quality, durability and attention to detail, as well as raw material costs and the high quality of the box. We provide decent quantities of the precious metals, Ru - 6g, Pd - 3g, Re - 10g, Os and Ir - 10g, Pt and Au - minimum 1g. The boxed set may seem expensive to people who don't realise how much work goes into producing it and have nothing similar to compare it with. Another significant factor contributing to the cost is the special handling and packaging that is required, especially for toxic substances and the numerous elements sensitive to air. To help people on a tight budget, we do offer an instalment plan, allowing the Element Collection to be purchased 10 elements at a time over 12 months. Please contact us for further details or to place an order.

DO YOU OFFER A GUARANTEE?
If taken care of, our sets should last a lifetime. The Element Collection may be returned (in the condition in which it was received) for a full refund (less P&P) within seven days of purchase. Any samples which deterioriate within one year of sale may be returned for free replacement. Spare samples can be purchased individually.

ARE OTHER COLLECTION DESIGNS AVAILABLE?
Please see this website for further details and to view photographs. We also produce large interactive periodic table displays suitable for public exhibition in schools, science companies, museums and science centres.

WHO INSTALLS THE DISPLAYS?
Our medium and large displays are always installed by our team, during 3-5 days depending on size and complexity. Our travel and accommodation costs are charged at cost, plus an installation fee. Our smaller acrylic block displays are a great deal simpler so can be installed by our customer’s team, though we are also happy to install if required.
 
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MANUFACTURE A DISPLAY?
This also depends greatly on size and complexity. We usually quote a safe lead time of 4-5 months. At our discretion and if our schedule allows, we will always do our best to serve sooner if the customer has a deadline. Given the time it takes to decide on all details and then build the display, prepare the samples and ship, we always advise our customers to contact us well in advance of the date they would like the display installed.
 
WHAT ABOUT DISPLAY MAINTENANCE?
Our displays are designed to require very little maintenance. Some dust may settle over time, and despite our best efforts to immobilize samples within the display, they have been known to move slightly if the display is subject to vibration. Because of this, the display may occasionally require light cleaning, re-positioning of samples, introduction of new samples or replacement of occasionally degraded ones. We provide instructions for the customer to undertake these tasks or can carry them out ourselves where possible. We offer individual maintenance visits, as well as the possibility of a scheduled maintenance plan. Please ask us to quote.
 
ARE OTHER DISPLAY DESIGNS POSSIBLE?
Absolutely, our in house cabinet design and fabrication department located in Madrid is always prepared for a challenge. If your building has specific materials you wish to match, or you need the display to fit in a given space, or you simply prefer a certain look, let us know and we will quote any modifications necessary.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR COMPANY?
The Element Collection is produced by RGB Research Ltd, a subsidiary of The Red Green & Blue Company Ltd (RGB). The company was founded in 1987 and specialises in science-related projects. Over the years RGB has been responsible for numerous documentary films including several episodes of the BBC science series Horizon, public displays and educational projects including a BAFTA-winning natural history website, a wide range of interactive CD-ROMs and DVDs, and a series of exhibits at the UK's leading hands-on science centre Explore-at-Bristol and at the British Museum in London. RGB won a second BAFTA for DNA Interactive marking the 50th anniversary of the elucidation of the double helix.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ELEMENTS?
There are numerous excellent periodic tables available on the internet, for example Theodore Gray’s wonderful website periodictable.com and the always entertaining periodicvideos.com. We also highly recommend the books The Elements and Molecules by Theodore Gray and also The Elements: Nature's Building Blocks by John Emsley published by Oxford University Press.

WHAT IS THE PERIODIC TABLE?
The periodic table of elements was devised by the Russian scientist Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleev in 1869. It is a system for arranging the chemical elements, from which everything in the universe is ultimately composed. The periodic table organises the elements into rows, columns and blocks in an ingenious way which reflects their chemical behaviour. The result is that elements vertically above or below one another in the periodic table tend to have similar chemical (and often physical) properties. The samples of each element provided in the Element Collection are arranged according to Mendeleev's periodic table.

HOW CAN I ORDER THE ELEMENT COLLECTION OR A PERIODIC TABLE DISPLAY?
Please follow the Sales link at the top of this page or email max.whitby@rgbco.com.