No joke: anyone making Uranium prints?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Mateo, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I now have several grams of Uranyl Nitrate Hexahydrate and think why not try. I have found two different fomulae for the sensitizer, but both lead to doubt. . The first sensitizer is simply the Uranium in water (developed in Potassium Ferricyanide) and I'm having a hard time believing that it could produce much of an image at a reasonable speed. The second formula has Ferric Ammonium Citrate with the Uranium and also developes in Potassium Ferricyanide. It sounds like cyanotype with my hard to acquire chem doing nothing. Can anyone help?
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Try the Bostick & Sullivan forum, they might have someone ther who has tried it. I think the uranyl nitrate would be better used as a toner, I remember reading somewhere it was used as toner for something, but I cant recall.
     
  3. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I have found a few different formulae for use as a toner-it seems like it must have been common practice seventy years ago. I will try one after trying to sensitize paper. A red toned silver print just doesn't sound too exciting. Thanks for the B&S idea; I should of thought of that.
     
  4. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I think if I had that stuff, I'd dump it. It *IS* radioactive - to what degree, I don't know, and I'm sure that photographers of the time that it was in use did not know either.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've seen uranium prints. They're a strange red/brown color. Check unblinkingeye.com for an article on uranium printing.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The main historical use for Uranium seems to have been as a negative intensifier. In this use, it is said to outperform even mercury, and so should be useful for making darkroom blinds :wink:

    I believe Uranotypes are an Iron process - like Pd/Pt and vanDyke. But unlike most others the image isn't formed by metal, but by insoluble oxides. The U(VI) in the Uranyl Nitrate is reduced to U(IV), probably as brownish black Uranium Dioxide.

    But that is probably more than you wanted to know?
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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    You might check the archives of the alt-photo-process list. I recall that someone was working with this process a while back. I think it was Bob Schramm but can not recall for sure. In any event if you are interested the archives are at http://www.usask.ca/lists/alt-photo-process/


    Sandy King
     
  8. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    Mr King,
    Thank you for the link. There was a thread where the person you mentioned gave the exact two formulae that I have.

    Mr Sukach,
    I appreciate your concern regarding the Uranium chemistry. I take chemical safety very seriously. Other more common compounds such as Potassium Dichromate, Oxalic acid, Pyrogallol, Selenium, et al, merit equal caution. I won't be dumping any chemistry but I thank you for the reminding me that these things should be taken seriously.
     
  9. Rob Archer

    Rob Archer Member

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    I would have done, but I sold my uranium to a funny-looking guy with a moustache and military uniform who said he was making some very big prints - wouldn't tell me where his darkroom was though!
     
  10. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    You'd never be able to find it anyway....

    IIRC Uranotypes are pretty safe RADIOACTIVELY. But the stuff is probably not good to ingest....
     
  11. edbuffaloe

    edbuffaloe Member

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    Bob Schramm is the only person I know who has actually made a contemporary uranium print. He has also used uranium nitrate as a toner. There is a brief article by him on my http://unblinkingeye.com site. Keith Schreiber gave me some uranium nitrate at APIS, and I intend to experiment with it soon (very carefully).
     
  12. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    The reason I suggested caution in the use of uranium-based chemicals came from one of my cached issues of Camera and Darkroom (Lord, fo I miss that magazine - even today many of the articles from ten years ago are of current interest). Someone once walked into rather old darkroom with a scintillometer and the thing went *nuts* recording all kinds of radioactivity - at considerably *more* than commonly acceptable levels - all traced to a can of Uranium Oxide (??? something like that) that had been in photographic processing use in the distant past.

    I take pride in not panicking easily; at the same time. I would have to place uranium - whatever - in the "risk unknown" category.

    I still have vivid memoriies of sifting through thousands (literally) of prints, material lists and specifications, searching for cadmium plated screws - or cadmium-plated anything - once common - so that we could ship our products to Europe.