Ceramic Samples for Neutron Activation Analysis

Chemical Engineering

Accession Number: 2019.che.137

Description:

A 400ml Pyrex chemical beaker contains fragments of a brick-coloured ceramic. Some of the fragments are marked with a grid. Some pieces appear to have been cut into cubes according to this grid pattern.

The container is marked “C. Soto” with an orange-red pigment. Within the beaker, there is a small, cylindrical, translucent plastic sample container marked “H20-C-25” that holds a fragment of the ceramic material.

Primary Materials: Ceramic, Glass, Plastic

Markings:

The brick fragments are marked with a grid, possibly with a pencil.

The container is marked “C. Soto” with an orange-red pigment.

The plastic container is marked “H20-C-25”.

Dimensions (cm): (Beaker) Height = 11.3, Diameter = 8.4.

Function:

These are test samples of ceramic pottery used to study the effects of long term burial on the chemical composition of archaeological ceramics. Once treated with organic acids analogous to those found in soil, these samples would have been subjected to neutron activation analysis at the University of Toronto’s SLOWPOKE research reactor.

Condition:

There is no obvious damage to the Pyrex beaker or the plastic sample container.

Date of Manufacture: c. 1970-1990

Provenance:

These ceramic samples were procured by Dr. Ursula Franklin (1921-2016) for a study the effects of long term burial on the chemical composition of archaeological ceramics.

These samples were acquired during a visit to Dr. Ron Hancock’s home on May 15th, 2019.

Historical Notes:

IN 1971 a SLOWPOKE 1 research reactor, designed and commissioned at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in Chalk RIver, Ontario, was installed at the University of Toronto. In 1976, this was replaced by a commercial SLOWPOKE II reactor. The SLOWPOKE laboratory operated at the Department of Chemical Engineering until the reactor was decommissioned in 1998. It focused on neutron activation analysis.

Drs. Ursula Franklin and Ron Hancock founded archaeometrical analysis at the University of Toronto SLOWPOKE laboratory.

Dr. Hancock was Reactor Supervisor at the SLOWPOKE lab from 1971 to 1993, and Director of the lab from 1993 to 1998.

  • Donated to UTSIC