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Old 09-05-2008, 11:14 PM #1
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Default Little experiment with... Ulexite !

Heya !
I did a research on this forum and can't find the word "ulexite" so i put here my experiment of this day :




From wikipedia :

"Ulexite (NaCaB5O9·8H2O) (hydrated sodium calcium borate hydroxide) is a mineral occurring in silky white rounded crystalline masses or in parallel fibers
Ulexite is found with the mineral borax and is directly deposited in arid regions from the evaporation of water in intermittent lakes called playas. The playas form only during rainy seasons due to runoff from nearby mountains. The runoff is rich in the element boron and is highly concentrated by evaporation in the arid climate. Eventually the concentration is so great that crystals of ulexite, borax and other boron minerals form and accumulate to great thickness.

If the specimen is approximately an inch thick and is polished flat on both sides perpendicular to the fibers, then an unusual optical phenomenon can be seen. The fibers will behave like optical fibers and transmit an image from one side of the specimen to the other. In other words, a good specimen, resting on a newspaper will have the writing appear to be on top of the specimen without any distortion of the lettering. The newspaper can easily be read upon the surface of the ulexite! """

"What accounts for this unusual effect? The answer is that ulexite is a natural fiber optic material. Its parallel fibers exhibit total internal reflection, guiding light along the length of the fibers. As Jeff Hecht explains in his book City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics (Oxford University Press, 1999), "Although ulexite was discovered around 1850, nobody took a close look at its optical properties until roughly a century later. It inspired no fiber-optic pioneers; some had never heard of it until I mentioned it. Only in 1963, several years after the faceplate was invented, did Bob Potter recognize ulexite as a natural fiber bundle.""

If you hold a polished slice right up to your eye, and look at a point source of light, you see concentric circles of light. This effect can also be produced by shining a laser pointer at a slightly oblique angle through a piece of ulexite. They explained this behavior as a consequence of different refractive indices in different directions of polarization.


here's mine (but not real ulexite, just gypsum which has the same optical property):


This picture show the letter HI trough a simple glass cube, and then with a piece of ulexite

And when i shine my triple :



edit : a rare picture of surface structure of ulexite with a Scanning Electron Microscope. We can see the fiber bundle (which are not round!). im collecting information to explain the interference pattern, and will do my own SEM picture in my physic department



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Old 09-05-2008, 11:37 PM #2
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

Sweet , whats about the french writing?
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:44 AM #3
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

i take the picture from my website =) was a little hurry
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Old 09-06-2008, 01:16 PM #4
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

It looks to me like it's simply transparent. Try a photo at an angle rather than straight upwards.
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:10 PM #5
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon
It looks to me like it's simply transparent. Try a photo at an angle rather than straight upwards.
It is transparent, but only along the "C" axis of the crystal, with the ends polished. *It is VERY much like fiber optic cable. *When viewed from the side (the A/B axis), the crystal is opaque. *Actually it is chatoyant or adularescent. *If you shine the laser at the side of the crystal, you get an arched reflection at a <45 degree angle. *I have a crystal section that is about 18 inches long by 4 inches in diameter (and many smaller ones). *The ends are NOT polished yet. *I'm going to make an accent lamp out of it.

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Old 09-12-2008, 03:07 AM #6
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

Nice pictures!
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:09 AM #7
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

Quote:
Originally Posted by daguin
It is transparent, but only along the &quot;C&quot; axis of the crystal, with the ends polished.
Yes, I see what he was getting at, but it just looks like regular glass with the angle he took the picture from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daguin
When viewed from the side (the A/B axis), the crystal is opaque.
No, Not the side, but more of an angle so we can see the image apearing at the top of the crystal rather than on the bottom.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:53 AM #8
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

Nice crystal.
Mauswiesel, where you live in France?

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Old 09-12-2008, 09:11 AM #9
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

http://maps.google.fr/maps?f=q&amp;hl=fr...amp;iwloc=addr
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:18 AM #10
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

Quote:
Originally Posted by mauswiesel
We live near, I come from Italy, between Florence and Pisa.
The last year I drove the trailer truck (now I study), and sometimes I came in France, but no near Paris, I went to Lyon, Marseille, and in Fos Sur Mer in the biggest gas storage.
I came to Paris two times to holidays, very nice city.
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:56 AM #11
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Default Re: Little experiment with... Ulexite !

wow, very beautiful! it really looks a lot like the output from a normal fiber! almost scary how nicely it mixes up to that &quot;white&quot; ;-)
collecting minerals, ulexite is one of the few minerals left i *must* get!
hmm, the &quot;clear-looking&quot; calcite (you see things double, it splits the polarized directions, polarising-beam-splitters are made of this) wasnt any useful, more distortion out of it than laser-like light..
more experiments with minerals and lasers for the world!

manuel
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