Tag Archives: Science

Elemental Dice 1-5

I just received 5 new Elemental Dice. Only two of the new ones were metal (Sa,Ce) and three were embedded in resin (S, Mn, Hg). Here is a picture of the complete collection.

As you can see the Ce(rium) die has already started to deteriorate. It came like that, I am not the only one, and we will see about replacement shipments.

I added Ce and Sa to my density table:


All dice have a lower wight than exptected. First, the edge are rounded and text and die-numbers are engraved or carved out of the metal cube so it is expected to not be 100%. Some dice are just plated, for obvious reasons (Rh,Pd,Pt,Au) so most part of those are probably Fe/Ni-something. I do not know what is up with Carbon, I suppose it is another form of pure carbon than Graphite.

Elemental Dice 1-4

Update 2022-08-09: I got a precision scale that gives me two decimals on the weight in grams. It turned out that my initial weights were rather good, essentially just rounding errors. Total weight of all 25 dice was 3.29 grams lower with the new scale, which gives an average error of ~0.12 grams, and the biggest error was 0.96g. When I obtain Elemental Dice 5 I will make a new post with more accurate weights.

I have received Elemental Dice 4, and will now make a post about all the 25 dice. I have previously posted about 1-3 and Silver. Lets start with a picture of all 25 (it is hard with light and reflections).

I have measured the density of all the dice on a kitchen scale with 1g precision.

EDAtomic WeightElementDens (g/cm)Dice Weight (g)Weight quoteActual Density (g/cm)Quote

A “4” in the first column is that they are new for the Elemental Dice 4 series and not included in my previous article. Densities seem quite fine, most of them well above 90% (which means I have no imminent reason to think the dice are not what they say they are). Carbon (C) has a lower density than expected (for graphite) but Carbon is not a metal and it makes sense to me that manufacturing method affects the atomic configuration.

The box states “pure elements can change color over time as the result of long term air chemical reactions with the […] air”. I sorted them from darkest to lightest and took a picture:

10 dice, sorted by shade of grey

This is difficult. Pb is more blue/cold. Cr is very shiny. Gd & Y changes position depending on light and perspective. But it gives you a hint.

Fe, Co, Ni (26,27,28) are all magnetic, as is Gd. The plated dice are slightly magnetic due to the material in the core, not the plating.

Elemental Dice Silver vs Silver

I wrote a post about my Elemental Dice a little while ago and the Silver dice got an entire section for themselves. I had owned the plated one longer and it had been in the aluminium stand. This is what they used to look like:

Plated silver to the left, severely oxidized after months, solid silver to the right, somewhat oxidized.

So, my guess was that the aluminium stand did something bad to the silver.

Since then the solid silver has been standing in the “faux leather dice roll mat” (available in E.D.2) and the plated silver has been standing in the aluminium stand. Now, a month and a half later I found that if any of them had any miscoloration it was the solid one, on the 6th face, that had been exposed to the faux leather.

I washed them both carefully in warm water and manual dish washer (which typically is used for utensils of metal), and took a few photos (with my new TX-158 “microscope”):

Solid Silver
Plated Silver

What you can clearly see here is that the solid one is laser engraved leaving the letters matte. The plated one is plated after the laser engraving, so also the letters are shiny. You can see this with your eye if you just look at them so this is an easy way to tell them apart (you can also determine that the solid one is a bit heavier, but it is not so obvious when you have them in your hand).

I took another picture of both of them at the same time.

Solid silver to the left, plated to the right

You can very clearly see that the inside of the “g” shines on the plated one and is matte with the solid.

But I also now see that more things are different. The plated one has had a thin layer of silver added afterwards, and that silver seems to have attached in a naturally shiny (almost liquid) way. The solid die on the other hand seems to have been polished to be shiny, leaving a very fine brushed surface.

To the naked eye, they also do not look exactly the same. The solid one appears to be more grayish and the plated one more warm yellow and perhaps even more shiny. If this is a matter of different age (time in the poluted air), different surface structure, or slightly different silver alloys I can not tell. Also the solid one seems to be blackish on 6th face.

Here is a picture of the 6th face of both dice. The solid die, to the right, has some black stains, and I suppose that is silver oxide (left one has been 45 days in aluminium stand, right one has been 45 days on faux leather).

Plated silver to the left, solid silver to the right.

But for now, it seems I was wrong about the aluminium oxidizing silver. I washed them today and I will put them back as they were, solid on faux leather and plated in the aluminium stand.

Elemental Dice 1 – 3

There has been some Kickstarter projects under the name Elemental Dice. Backers get dice made of “pure” elements, well as pure as possible. When it comes to very valuable elements (like gold) the dice are just plated with pure gold.

The first 3 Elemental Dice projects contained 15 different elements:

I decided to weight them and present some stats:

Real (g/cm)
Dice Weight (g)Density
Actual (g/cm)

The side of the dice are 16mm. But there are cavities and roundings so their actual volume is slightly smaller.

The plated dice all weight 34-35g, and they probably have the same interior. Their weight is rather uninteresting.

When it comes to the “as pure as possible dice” most of them are more or less within the error margin of my 1g resolution scale. Iron (Fe) seems to be an alloy with something lighter and Zink (Zi) even more so.

As expected, Nickel (Ni) and Iron (Fe) seems to be magnetic.


2021-10-14: I wrote separate post about the two silver dice and questioned some of below conclusions.

Silver is a noble metal, but everyone who has owned silverware knows that it gets blackish after a while. After a while I had the feeling that my silver dice were the ones that had deteriorated the most since I received them. I happen to own silver dice: one solid and one that is just plated.

Today someone who should know told me: pure silver does not oxidize like that in air. I had a closer look at them, and decided to take a photo:

This has obviously been a gradual process. The one to the left is the oldest die and is plated. The left die actually is that much darker on its 6th face. Since they are next to each other you can see it is just not a light reflection phenomena. The dark corner on the right dice IS the left die being reflected though.

As you may be aware of, the 6th face is opposite to the AG-face. I have kept my Elemental Dice in the aluminium stands, with the 6th face downwards, in contact with the aluminium. As you can see on the 3rd face, the stain/oxidization is triangular, being larger on the side that has been more down in the aluminium stand. And on the 2nd face, you can see kind of a line where the dice has touched the aluminium.

I feel quite confident that there is a reaction between Al and Ag, and that the silver dice (or silver in general) should not be in contact with Aluminium at all.
Not so sure about this any more, see separate post liked above.

Also, the little “holes” in the left (non-solid) die have turned yellowish. I don’t think is an optical phenomena because it has not happend (yet) to the solid silver dice, and there is nothing yellowish about Pt, Pa, Rh.

I am considering to paint my Aluminium stands with clear nail polish. Any other ideas?

Cleaning it!

There is a very simple way of removing the tarnish: link. It just requires sodium bicarbonate and some aluminium foil. The result is amazing, and it is fun do to chemistry in your own kitchen! Basically the Aluminium metal is sacrificed (oxidized) to restore the Silver atoms from Silver Oxide (and perhaps Silver Sulphide) to metal form.


There is a new set of Elemental Dice 4 with 10 new dice coming. The most missed ones after that would be:

  • Gallium – with a melting point of 29C it poses some practical problems, but including a mold for it would be cool
  • Uranium (depleted) – export restrictions and perhaps someone clever can turn U238 into Pu239