Thorium-based gas mantle

Thorium-based gas mantle

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Thorium-based gas mantle. Incandescent gas mantle, consisting of a fabric (white), impregnated with chemicals that contain rare earth elements (lanthanides) or actinides, mounted over a heat source. In this case, the chemical used is an oxide of thorium (Th), one of the actinides and a radioactive element. When heated from within by a flame (using some form of natural gas as a fuel), the fabric will glow with a white light. This is a way of producing white light (as opposed to the light of a naked flame) at camping sites and other locations with no electricity supply.

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