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Author Topic: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?  (Read 14610 times)

Offline Make it Lady

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Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« on: 23/08/2010 21:19:44 »
In 100 years time, what will the periodic table look like. Which elements will have become extinct? Will elements run out?
« Last Edit: 29/09/2010 08:56:00 by chris »


 

Offline rosy

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #1 on: 23/08/2010 22:16:25 »
No... there is no possibility of "elements running out".

Elements can react with each other to form compounds, for example iron rusts to make iron oxide, which is composed of iron and oxygen. However, in order to get hold of (most) elements, we have to extract them chemically from the compounds they occur in naturally - and the iron ore which we got the iron from in the first place, is just a form of iron oxide. It took energy to produce iron first time out, if we want to get the iron back again it'll take more energy.

I suspect what you're talking about is actually resource crises, shortages of elements (or compounds) in forms from which they can easily and efficiently be extracted. In which case, yeah, odds are copper and platinum are both going to get more difficult to get hold of.. but the stuff we've already used hasn't ceased to exist, it's still out there in computers and fuel cells and catalytic converters and phone cables, but we'll have to learn to be more efficient in what we use it for (and probably to mine our own rubbish dumps).
 

Offline RD

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #2 on: 23/08/2010 23:50:34 »
Quote
No Helium,

No More Funny Voices and Balloons!
   
January 7th, 2008, 08:47 GMT| By Gabriel Gache

Incredible as it may seem, the second most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen will soon be unavailable for Earth. Helium gas represents 8 percent of the total mass observed in the universe, but the reserves of the largest helium mining facility located in Texas are predicted to deplete in about eight years.
http://news.softpedia.com/news/No-Helium-No-more-Funny-Voices-and-Balloons-75370.shtml
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #3 on: 24/08/2010 07:20:00 »
If anything there are likely to be a few more (synthetic) elements in the periodic table by then.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #4 on: 24/08/2010 20:53:15 »
Very interesting folks. I suspect there may be more changes than this. Anyone else got some ideas?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #5 on: 25/08/2010 06:53:22 »
"I suspect there may be more changes than this."
Why?
 

Offline Make it Lady

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #6 on: 26/08/2010 22:55:38 »
Well things aren't called rare if they are abundant!
 

Offline Make it Lady

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #7 on: 26/08/2010 22:57:31 »
Bored C, can you elaborate on the synthetic elements?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #8 on: 27/08/2010 17:48:19 »
There are a few elements that are so unstable that any made by the big bang have decayed. On the other hand you can make them with a nuclear reactor or an accelerator. Most of them are transuranic (heavier than uranium).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transuranium_element

The others are technetium and promethium (and a few oddities like tritium).

The heavy ones are difficult to make but, as technology (and bloodymindedness) improve, we may make a few more in the next century or so.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #9 on: 31/08/2010 20:49:55 »
I guess they are quite expensive to make at the moment?

As we try to be greener eg. making solar pannels, I guess minerals used to make this kit will become rare too?
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #10 on: 31/08/2010 22:02:56 »
As a firm believer in empirical study I just looked inside my kettle and found that the element is still there !
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #11 on: 31/08/2010 23:40:24 »

As we try to be greener eg. making solar pannels, I guess minerals used to make this kit will become rare too?

They use a lot of silicon. I don't think we will ever run out of that.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #12 on: 01/09/2010 05:57:29 »
As a firm believer in empirical study I just looked inside my kettle and found that the element is still there !

The one in my kettle blew up the other day, so I went round to the Hotpoint store to get a replacement, but they were out of their elements.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #13 on: 01/09/2010 12:15:52 »
As a firm believer in empirical study I just looked inside my kettle and found that the element is still there !

The one in my kettle blew up the other day, so I went round to the Hotpoint store to get a replacement, but they were out of their elements.

 I've been to that store ....Elli works there and for the sake of me I'm sure she speaks in tongues...I never could understand what Elli Meant ! *le groan*
 

Offline peppercorn

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #14 on: 01/09/2010 14:45:33 »
I've been to that store ....Elli works there and for the sake of me I'm sure she speaks in tongues...I never could understand what Elli Meant ! *le groan*

Right, that's it! I'm ringing the 'Crimes Against Comedy Commission'!
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #15 on: 01/09/2010 17:25:34 »
I've been to that store ....Elli works there and for the sake of me I'm sure she speaks in tongues...I never could understand what Elli Meant ! *le groan*

Right, that's it! I'm ringing the 'Crimes Against Comedy Commission'!

Uh oh !!....they're here to take me away....I just heard one say that the place I'm going to is like Heaven...but then another said I misheard cos it's ''Hell-he-meant'......... ::)
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #16 on: 01/09/2010 19:24:05 »
Neilly the element packed his trunk and said good by to the circus...
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #17 on: 01/09/2010 19:51:32 »
Is that the trunkated version ?
 

Offline echochartruse

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #18 on: 21/09/2010 01:46:14 »
Flint, the world purest form of silica is scarce.
Can anyone send me flint please?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #19 on: 21/09/2010 08:05:40 »
Well, you could get some rock crystal and add impurities.
 

Offline echochartruse

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #20 on: 24/09/2010 05:36:48 »
I need pure silica and it apparently is scarce. Once exported from UK but now too expensive due to rarity.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #21 on: 24/09/2010 18:23:16 »
I need pure silica and it apparently is scarce. Once exported from UK but now too expensive due to rarity.

I think somebody is winding you up. There's more silica in the Earth's crust than anything else  :D
 

Offline echochartruse

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #22 on: 25/09/2010 06:04:35 »
There are various forms of silica. Fused quartz is pure amorphous silica
I am looking for flint, Variant: chert. Very hard dense nodules of microcrystalline quartz and chalcedony found in chalk and limestone.

I would be very interested in finding how to get it. Last I saw it was $100 per ounce because of its rearity I've been told.

Unavalable in Aust. It was previously exported here by UK
 

Offline Ophiolite

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #23 on: 25/09/2010 08:51:47 »
There are various forms of silica. Fused quartz is pure amorphous silica
I am looking for flint, Variant: chert. Very hard dense nodules of microcrystalline quartz and chalcedony found in chalk and limestone.

I would be very interested in finding how to get it. Last I saw it was $100 per ounce because of its rearity I've been told.

Unavalable in Aust. It was previously exported here by UK
What!!! The stuff is abundant. Go to the chalk of the South Downs, or the white cliffs of Dover. There are nodules and continuous beds of the stuff stretching for miles along and into the cliffs. There are beaches that consist of nothing but chert pebbles. Whoever is charging $100 an ounce is jerking your chain.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #24 on: 25/09/2010 11:19:34 »
I can buy flint arrowheads from the neolithic era on eBay for less than $100 an ounce.
 

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Re: Will we run out of elements in 100 years?
« Reply #24 on: 25/09/2010 11:19:34 »

 

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