Particle Accelerator Experiment

  • Thread starter treeworks
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  • #1
My 12 year old son recently created a homemade particle accelerator, with help from his grandfather, for his upcoming science fair. Below is his description and youtube video link. Any insight would be helpful.

"Hi, I just made this particle accelerator and I was confused on what I was seeing. I was using a copper anode and the test started just as I had seen in other online videos. I had a non-fixed 18 kv power supply and 60 cm of vacuum. There was a constant purple stream touching the anode with about an inch of crooke's effect. After about 45 seconds the stream turned white like it usually does when the bottle gets hot and the contaminant is killed. Then, all of the sudden there was a huge discharge. The stream came down in a tornado-like fashion then went back up and there was just a swirling white tornado touching the side with 3 inches of crooke's effect. There were a few electric lighting- light strikes at the end of the anode before it repeated the process. I have a video below. Please let me know your thoughts."

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  • #2
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Wow, that's crazy! I don't know what's causing it, but it looked really cool!
  • #3
Gold Member
Wow, that's crazy! I don't know what's causing it, but it looked really cool!
Might be cool looking, but I sure hope PF had no part in helping with this project. (Which, from my experience, it did not)

Crookes Tube
When the voltage applied to a Crookes tube is high enough, around 5,000 volts or greater, it can accelerate the electrons to a fast enough velocity to create X-rays when they hit the anode or the glass wall of the tube.

From my experience, X-rays were defined as ionizing radiation. Not a good thing for a 12 year old to be playing around.

I may be overstating the dangers here, as I'm not an x-ray technician, nor have I researched such things for more than the last 30 minutes, but:

Chapter[/PLAIN] [Broken] 4
X Rays and Gamma Rays:
Crookes Tubes and Nuclear Light

many amateurs have built x-ray sources this way, although this is no longer a very popular activity because of the inherent or perceived hazard of an unshielded x-ray source.

bolding mine

ps. I'm listening to the Toccata Fugue in D minor, at the moment. hmmmmm.......
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  • #4
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
This thread has been removed form moderation and is viewable again. Treeworks, you should know that there's been some concern over the safety of this device regarding the production of X-Rays. Please, please make sure you, your family, and anyone else remains safe by checking up on this as soon as possible, preferably prior to the science fair. One of the mentors mentioned possibly getting one of the x-ray detection badges that x-ray technicians wear.

In the meantime, since this thread isn't on how to build a particle accelerator, the mentors have decided to let it remain open for the time being.
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