Introduction: Periodic Table Glowing Radioactive Eggs

Picture of Periodic Table Glowing Radioactive Eggs
Hear about the one that laid the golden egg? Well, this is a batch of organic(not hatched at least) glowing radioactive eggs. A fine sample of radioactive elements is presented here. Look, there's Polonium, favored by our friends at the KGB. For breakfast, let your kids pick their...wait

Great for egg scavenger hunts, egg hunt periodic table bingo contests or for winning door prizes. Some of these radioactive elements are pretty rare and have a short half-life.

Powered by Adafruit Flora or any Arduino of your choice.

DISCLAIMER: Possession of and handling of nuclear materials should be left to professionals or those that claim to work in that field.  If they mention anything about Dilithium, run away. A source of high quality K'nexgunium has not yet been mined although Unobtainium is plentiful. 

Step 1: Safe Handling of Materials...

Picture of Safe Handling of Materials...

I think salmonella would be the least of your worries...

This project is just rigging up eggs with LEDs in a repeating fade pattern controlled by a microprocessor like an Arduino.

The egg carton is used to hold the eggs and the magic Arduino is hidden in the package.

You can go with a whole egg or have it hard-boiled but I just used an empty egg shell since that would diffuse the LED light better and not be as opaque.

A little bit of fiberfill is stuffed inside the eggshell for better light distribution.

I used an Adafruit Flora microprocessor board and battery pack.

I used LEDs in different colors with appropriate resistors soldered in line.

Know how to wire up and program your microprocessor.

CAUTION: Know how to safely work with electronics and raw poultry products.  If you don't know, ask.

Step 2: Make It Glow...

Picture of Make It Glow...

I could have used my full sized Arduino UNO but my Adafruit Flora serves me well. The package is a smaller form factor for wearables but is suited for cramming into all sorts of  props.

I looked up the specs of my LEDs, max current draw, forward voltage, and power supply voltage.  I plugged those numbers into an online LED calculator to give me a resistor value to use.  Resistors prevent the LED from burning out due to a surge in current. 

I soldered my own wiring harness with LEDs and resistors soldered and insulated with some masking tape. The masking tape forms well over tiny components and provides some strain relief when handling the LEDs.

I used pairs from a strip of ribbon cable.

The ends of the leads are soldered to male header pins.  I like to do this as a breakout cable for my components that plug into the female header sockets soldered to the Arduino.  It makes connections and troubleshooting easier.

I am running the basic example of doing a PWM fade of LEDs.  It is looping and issuing the command to up the voltage level on each pass and delay to make it appear brighter and then go in reverse to fade out. Each LED is on its own PWM or analog capable pin.

Continually test each step of the way.  I adjusted the timings to what I thought looked like a good effect.

More complicated looping could have made each egg individually fade in and out on its own cycle.

Of course, you can also add a light sensor, tactile switch, or ultrasonic range sensor to detect if the carton is open or not.  Hook up a piezo speaker to have it click like a geiger counter, more intense if you get closer to it.

Step 3: Christmas Lights...wait, It's Easter Time...

Picture of Christmas Lights...wait, It's Easter Time...

These are prepared egg shells.

I had taken a sharp knife to poke into and dig out a piece of the shell at one end.  Hold it with a towel as the sharp knife tip slips on impact and you really can't saw an egg shell open.

I didn't really figure out which is the preferable end to cut, the wide bottom or pointier top. There is an air pocket with the membrane that hangs off the shell in one end.

I then broke the yolk inside and drained the contents of the egg into a bowl.  You may have to shake the contents out a bit. That was cooked and eaten.

I did not want the secondary hole on top if you try the blowing out the egg technique.

The empty egg shells were washed with dish soap and dried.

The egg shells are still fragile so you could slosh the insides with glue or a plaster slurry/slip and let dry.

When dry, you can stuff with a bit of fiberfill.  This is all to enhance the light diffusion of the LED  inside the egg shell.

Test to see how your lights will look when powered up.

The green LED seems to show off the natural texture of the egg shell the best. Green eggs and ham. Yum!

Step 4: Carbon Dating...

Picture of Carbon Dating...

Take any writing instrument and apply markings to your egg. I haz no Egg-bot printer.

Use a marker to write on the Periodic Table information of the element. I copied the symbol, name, atomic number and atomic weight. You might be able to squeeze in more info depending on your font.

I used a permanent marker but use one with non-toxic ink if you are going to store the eggs and worry about anything migrating through the shell when you eat the eggs.

Light it up and feel those alpha, beta and gamma particles coming at you.

Serve on a Pb plate with graphite chopstick control rods. Wash down with a glass of heavy water.

What's your favorite radioactive element and why?  Tell me something below and I might react with scattering a few Pro membership codes your way if your story registers high.



Yonatan24 (author)2016-12-24

Hmmm... No Caitlinsium?

ali_f (author)2015-05-16

I WAS going to do this and then rig the egg carton whith a couple o' sticks o' dynamite?????........ wait.......... nope, just do it and then throw the eggs on the ground to see what would happen,buuuuut.... then I found out it was just LED lights.??????????????????????????????????????????????????? or........ just ask Good ol' George Lucas for one of them Star Wars blasters? and maybe a lightsaber? or two, invite my friends get the picture.

ali_f (author)2015-05-16

BTW, I'm the biggest Star Wars Freek ever.

ali_f (author)2015-05-16

BTW, I'm the biggest Star Wars Freek ever.

bajablue (author)2014-05-20

Cool project, CD!

radiograf (author)2014-04-20

Reminds me of a 1950's British film "Mr Drakes Duck" about a farmer who has a duck which lays uranium eggs!

caitlinsdad (author)radiograf2014-04-20

Hmmm, can't find any snippets of it. Will have to rummage those B movie bins to find it. Sounds good though.

rsellens (author)2014-04-19

Enjoyed your post! It prompted me to try some more traditional eggs with colour changes, and let me test the idea of soldering directly to smt NeoPixel packages without a breakout board. Easier than I thought.

caitlinsdad (author)rsellens2014-04-19

That is great. I never thought to just mount neopixels with crazy glue. I guess it is too permanent and you would have to chip the stuck bits out to reuse it. I like that pebbly grainy structure of the eggshell under different colored lights.

You can embed a video in comments by typing the URL and then pressing enter like I did below. More people should see your work.

You should go on Adafruit's Show and Tell webcast or email them. They like to see what people do with their products.

Please check your instructables inbox (YOU button at top) for a message.

caitlinsdad (author)caitlinsdad2014-04-19

Kryptonite eggs, anyone?

hunter999 (author)2014-04-13

Nice idea! Too bad you can't enter this in the sci-fair contest.

caitlinsdad (author)hunter9992014-04-13

You can make this and enter it into any science fair you want.

hunter999 (author)caitlinsdad2014-04-19

I know, but what I meant is that its a shame that you could not enter it into the current science method contest -

Since you have already entered this into the maximum of three contests. And no way would I think of making your final product and entering it in the contest. I mean, it kinda sounds like stealing (of course not physically).

caitlinsdad (author)hunter9992014-04-19

You should and can make any variation or copy of this ible.There is no scientific process involved unless you want to explore what diffracts light better or luminosity through transluscent or opaque objects. This was just fun to do and share.

MultiPhoton (author)2014-04-13

An element...

some have great purposes

others not

caitlinsdad (author)MultiPhoton2014-04-13

Hmmm, an isotope or fleeting bit of an haiku?

MultiPhoton (author)caitlinsdad2014-04-14

Sorry I didn't reply. I love poetry, and I thought it would be interesting to see who would reply. Thanks for replying, anyways it's actually a quote. I also love your radioactive eggs, there so creative. Hope you win a contest. (:

(p.s. I voted for you) . .


caitlinsdad (author)MultiPhoton2014-04-14

Since we have an international crowd here, some replies are fragmented due to the user's rough English, wonky translation, cut and paste spam or the user is just under heavy medication. We field all of them, scratch our heads to figure out what it means and go for an appropriate response in humor or humour.

MultiPhoton (author)caitlinsdad2014-04-15

Wow. I don't think I spelled anything wrong. My grammar and spelling is always correct, seemingly.

caitlinsdad (author)MultiPhoton2014-04-15

Nothing wrong, just unusual in this texting age to see a bit of prose. Then you gotta ask yourself a question, do you feel lucky today or is this person just commenting out of context.

MultiPhoton (author)caitlinsdad2014-04-16

Context a millennia ago

may seem long aged

but are all part of a history rapidly increasing.

from earth we view.

And yes this context appears awkward to the human eye.

(FYI - If you've seen my instructable page, i have none created. But i'm working on my drafts, and I have many. If you could, please view one of them some time when i finish it. Thanks for replying so much too. Enjoy hump day.

(: (: (: (:

MSHAG (author)2014-04-14

i hate to be a grammar Nazi, but eggs have yolks, not yokes

veeguy (author)MSHAG2014-04-14

Do oxen eggs have yokes, or is my thinking scrambled?

caitlinsdad (author)veeguy2014-04-14

Are there 12 eggs in a Do oxen eggs or do bakers throw an extra yolk in there to be funny?

caitlinsdad (author)MSHAG2014-04-14

Ah, I stand corrected. Thanks to the yout for pointing that out.

thehbird (author)2014-04-13

My science teach would live these

caitlinsdad (author)thehbird2014-04-14

Make a set of glowing eggs and then show your teacher. And then tell them Instructables has a program to support teachers and educators with free pro memberships and stuff. They just have to contact ibles to sign up. Thanks.

ianni (author)2014-04-14

Nice project! I did this one some time ago using fading leds or color changing leds that don't need controller, but just 1 battery (or 2 if 1.5V). With an arduino you have more control over the fading speed and other tweaks you might want to experiment to look even greater. Will give it a try for this Easter.

caitlinsdad (author)ianni2014-04-14

It really is just fun to even put an egg on top of a flashlight and blink it on and off. Then you start thinking what else gives you a real good radioactive effect. Thanks.

adamw ROX OUT LOUD (author)2014-04-13

I don't have a favorite, but I do have a least favorite - Americium. I got radiation poisoning from it last year.

They have these ancient smoke detectors at my church, the first ones to use Americium. They were made back when people didn't think things through when making potentially dangerous products. These detectors had a relatively huge amount of Am in them, compared to the tiny bit they use today. One of these detectors had been removed from the ceiling and dissected, and I thought it'd be cool to pick it up and look at the Americium thingy behind its gold foil window. There must have been some defect in the container, cuz I somehow got exposed. I only held it for a minute but I didn't wash my hands and probably carried around some particles on my fingers, maybe swallowed some at dinner. The next day I was nauseous, crapping blood and a sweat gland in my armpit had swelled up to the size of a marble.

Lesson learned. Two forum topics on smoke detector Americium.

I might speculate the symptoms were probably more from the potluck dinner that night but hey, you might have a lawsuit there. Intriguing story though...

check your ibles inbox in a bit.

schumi23 (author)2014-04-13

Hmm... I can honestly say I never thought of sticking LEDs into eggs... Could be interesting to make pseudo-mini-dragon eggs...

And I have no favorite radioactive element. I didn't know any had... I guess if I had to say, I would say Hydrogen with 32 nucleons.

caitlinsdad (author)schumi232014-04-13

I don't know of Hydrogen with 32 nucleons, could be S (sulphur). Maybe just passing gas into the wind? Candling is passing LEDs under eggs to check the insides.

schumi23 (author)caitlinsdad2014-04-13

Hydrogen with 32 nucleaons would be 1 proton, 31 neutrons, 1 electron. It would be very radioactive, I believe, and deteriorate so quickly that it isn't found in nature.

caitlinsdad (author)schumi232014-04-13

I guess we would need a true physicist to confirm if that is indeed plausible but correct by definition.

Please check your ibles inbox for a message.

schumi23 (author)caitlinsdad2014-04-13

I have :)

iceng - It is a theoretically possible isotope which doesn't exist in nature. Thus no name. :) (Other H isotopes are deuterium (2nucleons) and there's one for 1 nucleon hydrogen.)

It is implausible, and yet possible by definition. I would divine that its half life would be in the order of seconds, if not less.

caitlinsdad (author)schumi232014-04-13

Schuminium32 found on planet schumi23.

iceng (author)schumi232014-04-13

I only know of tritium(hydrgen-3), what do you call your isotope ?

iceng (author)2014-04-13

I Like It ! . . . . ILI

caitlinsdad (author)iceng2014-04-13

Served only at fine establishments on the playa.

strangebrew47460 (author)2014-04-13

I actually thought you were going to use glow in the dark paint to make simple Easter eggs that could be eaten. That would make a night-time egg hunt a lot of fun!

You could use glow in the dark paints but I was looking for a more active radiation effect with the pulsing glow. Battery powered lights will glow brighter. You could wire up an an even smaller Attiny 45/85 chip to drive the LED with a coin cell battery and embed that in the egg for a soft-boiled circuit.

But actually, you might want to use glow in the dark paints or neon colors which might help those visually impaired or put a sound emitter in the egg for assistive tech to allow everyone to join in the fun for hunting for eggs. Thanks.

thematthatter (author)2014-04-12

And people thought that adding hormones and antibotics to chickens to increase yield was a bad thing.

Irradiated tomatoes are the best. Not really.

i'm all for increasing the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. even if it makes them taste like plastic.

Otterboxes are for bananas...wait

wusupworld (author)2014-04-11

I always knew chickens made radioactive eggs, now you just help me prove it?

caitlinsdad (author)wusupworld2014-04-11

What came first, the chicken, the egg, or radioactivity?

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