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How to make your own particle accelerator

  1. Jul 21, 2009 #1
    I am hoping to make a particle accelerator for a science fair, but am not sure on how to go about doing it. Can someone please give me some advice on what materials i will need to make an accelerator while at the same time being at a reasonable cost. Any websites will also help a lot.

    P.S. I do not want anything too fancy, just something that can convey the msg of how it works, while at the same time, being presentable.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2009 #2


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    That cost thing is going to kill you. At the very least, you need to be able to pull a reasonably hard vacuum and either have a fair amount of RF power available, up to several MHz for cyclical accelerator types (such as the cyclotron) or high voltage for linear types (like a TV tube). It is a doable project, but it takes a lot of time, effort and money to get one working. I remember many years ago, Scientific American had a miniature cyclotron project, but I haven't been able to find it.
  4. Jul 21, 2009 #3


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  5. Jul 21, 2009 #4
    i am not interested in a real accelerator, just one that can demonstrate the concept.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  6. Jul 21, 2009 #5


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    In that case, a television or oscilloscope CRT does that admirably.
  7. Jul 22, 2009 #6


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  8. Jul 29, 2009 #7
    A van de graff generator can be used as a particle accelerator and is the easiest to make.
    Search for Van De Graff generator on google and I'm sure you can make one. It's much more simple when compared to something like a cyclotron.

    Best of luck for your project.
  9. Sep 23, 2009 #8
    what you could do is make a "theoretical model" rather than try and make something that works(especially because you just want to show how it works) you can do this.

    make a track out of wood about 2-4 feet in length(distance becomes important later) glue it together(no nails!) then beneath the track in the middle place a large electromagnet, by placing an iron bar rapped in copper wire many times over. glue together a wooden base that has two wires sticking out the end and going to another box housing a battery and a switch(hey, it might be fun to make a "dynamite" style press box while you are at it just for fun.

    on the top of the tack make two grooves for wheels and stops that you can move later(at this point i will say that maybe you should have made those grooves when making the track.) make two carts(where the wheels match the track grooves) than move freely. then glue(super) iron bars on top of the carts. fancy up the track by making wooden arches and paining them metallic for added effect, making sure that there are spaces large enough for the carts to fit in and out.

    place the carts at both ends, turn on the switch and (hopefully) the two carts will smash together. if they do not, two things can fix this, one, move the carts closer together(see I told you it would be important) or two up the power of the electro magnet(this can get tricy if there are other metal objects nearby.

    Hope that helps ~socrunningman
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