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Linear particle accelerator

  1. Sep 19, 2012 #1
    Hi i'm a GCSE student and for a science fair i was hoping to build a linear particle accelerator for a science fair. I have a Cathode Ray Tube from an old tv for my vacuum pump assembly, I would like to accelerate particles with enough kenetic energy so that they can vaporise some water in a water tank creating a trail of bubbles.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    We generally don't support folks who want to build their own particle accelerators because it can be quite dangerous. Dealing with the high vacuum takes some skill and experience. And accelerating (and decelerating) charged particles generates radiation, which can be a safety hazard.

    I'd encourage you to think of a different project for the science fair. There are lots of challenging ones that don't involve such dangerous aspects.
  4. Sep 20, 2012 #3


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    Gold Member

    Cjen1, Welcome to Physics Forums!

    Why not build a Wilson cloud chamber? Here is the introduction from the Wikipedia page:

    “The cloud chamber, also known as the Wilson chamber, is a particle detector used for detecting ionizing radiation.

    In its most basic form, a cloud chamber is a sealed environment containing a supersaturated vapor of water or alcohol. When a charged particle (for example, an alpha or beta particle) interacts with the mixture, it ionizes it. The resulting ions act as condensation nuclei, around which a mist will form (because the mixture is on the point of condensation). The high energies of alpha and beta particles mean that a trail is left, due to many ions being produced along the path of the charged particle.”

    Using Google you can find lots more on cloud chambers, some of which may give you an idea for your science fair project.

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