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Can anybody tell what this is?

  1. Aug 11, 2014 #1
    I was given this attached photo on a part of some apparatus but I don't know what it is... Any ideas?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2014 #2

    maajdl

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    Could that be part of a lightning rod?
    Where did you fin this?
     
  4. Aug 11, 2014 #3
    A friend found this in a storage room. Do others agree or disagree with the "lightning rod theory"?
     
  5. Aug 11, 2014 #4

    billy_joule

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    Why would a lightning rod need a spark plug? Champion C-5s are more often found in classic cars.
     
  6. Aug 11, 2014 #5

    Borek

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    What does the sign say? Radioactive ...?
     
  7. Aug 11, 2014 #6
    "Radioactive source. Do not open or heat above 250 C.
     
  8. Aug 11, 2014 #7

    Borek

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    Then perhaps it IS a radioactive source. No idea why the spark type mount, but the shape makes sense.

    I would not treat it as something safe. No idea what is the best course of action. Definitely don't put it in your pocket.
     
  9. Aug 11, 2014 #8
    Radioactive source indeed - but for but purpose? Still waiting for answer to that...
     
  10. Aug 11, 2014 #9

    maajdl

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    Ionize the air near the tip of a lightning rod.
     
  11. Aug 11, 2014 #10

    maajdl

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    Could you show what is written around the white insulator?
     
  12. Aug 11, 2014 #11
    It says "Radioactive source. Do not open or heat above 250 C. " I wonder why would a lightning rod would need a spark plug in it?
     
  13. Aug 11, 2014 #12

    maajdl

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    On the white insulator we can see: "C-5 CH"
    But we can't see the whole text.
    Can you tell us the full text on the white insulator?

    C-5 may be an indication for a category of radioactive sources.
    from http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1227_web.pdf :

    "At the lower end of the categorization system, sources in Category 5 are
    the least dangerous; however, even these sources could give rise to doses in
    excess of the dose limits if not properly controlled, and therefore need to be
    kept under appropriate regulatory control. " (page 5)

    Lightning preventers are typically category 5 sources. (page 27)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  14. Aug 11, 2014 #13

    SteamKing

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    It could be an apparatus for generating soft X-rays by means of using a simple spark plug.

    There is a paper on the subject here:

    http://www.slac.stanford.edu/pubs/icfa/fall97/paper2/paper2.pdf

    In the test set up described in the paper, a different model of Champion plug was used, possibly a J-12Y, although the report is not clear on the subject.
     
  15. Aug 11, 2014 #14
    It's clearly a radioactive spark gap.
    The connector is obviously for high voltages and the labeling "Do no open"(sic) clearly indicates that it contains a radioactive isotope.

    A radioactive source can be applied to the anode of a spark gap to provide ready electrons.
    So, have you tried a set of Firestone poloniums?
    sparkplugs2.jpg

    http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer products/sparkplugs.htm

    The misspelling ("Do no open" vs. "Do not open") suggests that this was not mass produced.

    It would be interesting to know:
    1) What is the word that begins "CH" on the white insulator? (I'm sure it's not "Champion".)
    2) Is there an electrical connection between the metal capsule and the ground connection? There probably is, but you can't tell for certain in the photos. If there isn't, this may be a triggerable spark gap.
    3) How big is it? Perhaps 8 or 9 cm?

    If polonium was used, it long dead.

    I doubt that it had any use as a lightning arrestor - you don't need anything that fancy for shorting lightning.

    In any case, it is probably a museum piece.
     
  16. Aug 11, 2014 #15

    billy_joule

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    Why? That is exactly what a champion C-5 looks like...

    The one in the OP has the modern push fit terminal but many plugs come with both styles.

    http://www.gsparkplug.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/c/5/c5_1.jpg [Broken]

    http://www.gsparkplug.com/shop/champion-c5.html

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  17. Aug 11, 2014 #16
    Okay, so 60 or 80 years ago, someone infused or coated the anode of a Champion spark plug with a radioactive isotope and then sealed it up with a small canister. I believe that would make it a high voltage rectifier - that has long lost its uumph.
     
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