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What Is Uranium Glass or Vaseline Glass?


Uranium glass fluoresces under ultraviolet light.

Uranium glass exhibits a characteristic green fluorescence under black or ultraviolet light.

Nerdtalker, Creative Commons License Uranium glass fluoresces brightly under a black or ultraviolet light.

Have you ever wondered whether radioactive materials really do glow in the dark? This is a photo of uranium glass, which is a glass to which uranium was added as a colorant. Uranium glass fluoresces bright green under a black or ultraviolet light.

Z Vesoulis, Creative Commons License

Question: What Is Uranium Glass or Vaseline Glass?

Uranium glass fluoresces with a characteristic green light under ultraviolet or black light. Uranium glass is sometimes known as Vaseline glass because its greasy appearance is akin to that of petroleum jelly. Here's a look at what uranium glass is and how it is used.

Answer: Simply put, uranium glass is glass that contains uranium. Usually uranium is added to glass before it is melted as a diuranate oxide. Modern uranium glass is about 2% uranium, by weight, although some 19th century pieces contain as much as 25% uranium. The glass comes in shades of yellow and green, although other colors are possible if additional metals have been added. A Geiger counter will register radioactivity from some uranium glass, although it is not sufficiently radioactive to pose a health hazard. Uranium glass is called "Vaseline glass" because the milky, greasy appearance of the glass resembles that of petroleum jelly.

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