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Home experiment - annhialation

  1. Jun 5, 2006 #1


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    I read once that there is a home experiment that lets you see particles annhialating. I think it has to do with putting some radioactive material in a jar with a liquid and the you see little blinks of light? I dont remember any of the details or anything. Were can I find more information about this? Or could someone tell me how to do it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2006 #2
    I believe that you may be referring to a "cloud chamber", but not sure.
  4. Jun 7, 2006 #3
    But the particles aren't annihilating, they're just decomposing to give off energy in a cloud chamber.
  5. Jun 7, 2006 #4
    Huh? The visible track is the condensation of vapor in the path of ionizing radiation, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_chamber.
  6. Jun 7, 2006 #5
    sounds like liquid scintillation to me, although it doesn't involve any particles annihilating, and I'm not sure what you'd be able to find around the home that would provide enough scintillation light.

    Liquid scintillation is almost always used to count beta and alpha emitters. You'd probably need a relatively high amount of activity, a really dark room and some good eyes to be able to see the scintillation light from anything other than the more commonly used liquid scintillation solutions (the ones I worked with were known as POP and POPOP and required special disposal procedures)
  7. Jun 8, 2006 #6


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    How do I make those kinds of things at home?
  8. Jun 12, 2006 #7
    I read about an experiment like that when I was a kid. It was in an old physcis book too, a beginers book from the sixties. I think the source of radiation was a mildly radioactive substance that the don;t use in retail products anymore. It was basically just phosphoresent paint for the numbers on a clock so you could read it in the dark, by there were traces of radium or something in the paint so that it glowed stronger than the glow in the dark paint you get at a craft store (which simple absorbes light and radiates it later, I believe)

    regardless, for the experiment you were supposed to put in paint scrapings in a jar filled with something (sorry, don't remember what) and the radiation cased visible "sparks" as it interfered with the substance in the jar. Sorry this is just from memory and I never was able to by the stuff meantioned in the old book. It was from a bygone era--ah the good old days when coke contained cocaine, paint contained lead, and radioactive isotpoes were available to five year olds.
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