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Need feedback for an experiment involving Geiger tubes

  1. Jan 21, 2015 #1
    I hypothesize that I can measure an increase in background radiation due to cosmic rays from ground level in Utah to 10,000 ft altitude with a Geiger Muller set-up. I feel that I have enough information to order equipment now (a working knowledge of gm tubes, energy levels of & the special relativistic effects that apply to muons) but I would love for someone with hands-on experience with gm tubes to tell me that this idea is either valid or totally bogus. Thanks!
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  3. Jan 21, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    Similar ideas:
    http://www.colorado.edu/physics/phys1140/phys1140_sp05/Experiments/O1Fall04.pdf (mentions 2X counts at 1 mile compared with sea level)
    (measures counts as a function of elevation in airplane)
  4. Jan 21, 2015 #3


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    And that brings me back to the original puzzle that I had when I first read the OP's post. This has been done many times under different studies and circumstances,. so why are you trying to do this? Is this simply just to see if you know how to operate a Geiger tube? Or is this educational?

    If it is educational or a teaching demonstration, then I'd say that you get more bang for your buck if you get a cloud chamber instead. The students will see a lot more effects at different elevations, and they might even be able to identify different types of background radiation, something that you can't decipher using the Geiger tube.

  5. Jan 21, 2015 #4
    Hey guys, thanks for the feedback!
    I should supply some more details. The Geiger-Muller tubes will be the payload for a rocket. The main goal is not to transport GM tubes to altitude to do this test, but rather the rocket has the payload as a design requirement for competition against other rockets. Because of the very high initial acceleration of our rocket, the short flight time, and the need to maintain the isopropyl alcohol mist in these conditions, we decided against a cloud chamber.
    However, we will be using a cloud chamber to prove we can get cosmic rays (mostly, if not entirely, muons) to come through one layer of our rocket body. Well, for proof, and for fun.

    So, it is partly educational, partly for competition, it is a proof-of-concept experiment, and we are now thinking about developing an application for this test, or for the set-up.
  6. Jan 21, 2015 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Um....how do you plan to read out the cloud chamber if it's on a rocket? For that matter, how do you plan to keep the chamber still?
  7. Jan 21, 2015 #6
    The cloud chamber won't go in the rocket. We can use the cloud chamber at ground level to prove Muons can pass through the material the rocket is made from. A small test, and fun experiment for us to do. We "inherited" the equipment, so we're not buying anything extra (except dry ice and alcohol) to do this.
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