Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Hydrogen-3 Workshops - Tritium bead

I know I am late to the playground when it comes to the cutting edge of self-illuminating lights, but I finally laid my paws on some tritium radioluminescence,  in the form of this gorgeous bead from Hydrogen-3 workshops.

For those of you who don't know, tritium (H3) is the ever so slightly radioactive heavy-brother of regular hydrogen, which sheds electrons as it slowly decays, which in turn excite a phosphor coating on the inside of the glass phial is is trapped in, and, tada, a constant (if dim) glow. With a half-life of 12.5 years, this isn't a "forever" light, but it also doesn't irradiate the carrier either ...

Hydrogen-3 Workshops offer a variety of cool ways to carry their range of tritium phials, (which they have with phosphors glowing in Green, Blue, Ice Blue, Pink, Purple, Red, Orange, Yellow, White), and the bead I chose was a six-sided AISI 304 stainless steel, handcrafted from a metal bar stock and milled to accept six 6 x 1.5 mm tritium phials.

The phials themselves are glued into the bead with the rather cool UV-cured Norland 61 Optical Adhesive and are recessed below the lip of the bead, for added protection.

I chose two each of Red, Blue and Green, for a classic CRT effect. Spinning it, I get a nice off-white glow.

 Adding the bead to my keychain was as simple as slipping it over one of my nifty titanium split rings and onto my Gar-A-Biner to go along with all my other cool EDC keychain tools.

As far as how well it illuminates, I've been able to spot my keys in the dark of my room, the foot-well of my car at night, and at the bottom of my bag, when rummaging at the pool. I'd say the green was the clearest to spot, but the red was not too far behind.

This was a pretty small sized phail for each, so I didn't expect much, but I think they will prove valuable when it comes to finding my keys in the dark of a foreign bedroom, underground lair or ditch when dropped evading zombies.

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