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Building a cloud chamber for Science Fair

  1. Dec 7, 2014 #1
    Hello physicists,

    This is my first time on these forums, so I'm sorry if this isn't the right place. Feel free to move it if it isn't.

    I am building a small cloud chamber to detect particles resulting from the decay of pions in the atmosphere for a local science fair. I hope to see electron and muons, as those are the products I predicted from research of particle decay. I'd like to test the effects of observing time on the number of particles detected.

    I have asked my physics teacher; she does not have very much information about building a cloud chamber, only the theory behind its functioning. I asked the chemistry teacher at my high school, but she does not believe that these particles could be detected. In order to meet a deadline for my project, I went ahead with background research.

    I am now attempting to describe an experimental methodology, but I am having trouble writing the procedure because I don't know what materials I will need. Any advice or resources would be greatly appreciated, and I will acknowledge you in my presentation. Don't worry about offending me if the project won't work; I'd rather find out now than in front of the judges! I can post my bibliography if that would be useful.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2014 #2


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Building a cloud chamber is certainly possible, and google finds many pages with instructions, including one from CERN.
    In addition to muons from cosmic rays (you won't see other particles from them in a relevant rate), you'll see particles from natural radioactivity in and around the cloud chamber.
  4. Dec 7, 2014 #3
    Thank you very much for your quick response. I will continue research and post again if I have another question.
  5. Dec 8, 2014 #4
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