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Alien 13

Can I make a cloud chamber?

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In the past when I was a kid it would have been fairly easy to make a cloud chamber The_Original_Advertisement.jpg.c38de6d56ce1ac640c440de79fcb17ab.jpg

but can I do it today and where would I get the bits required?

Alan

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Easy enough, I built one for school, the only problem might be getting the dry ice. I used a short pipe coupling, 100mm PVC lined with black flocking. 4 white LEDs for illumination and a circle of acrylic as a top. The alpha source was a thoriated tungsten welding electrode from here:

https://www.diamondground.co.uk/

The dry ice we make on site from a liquid CO2 cylinder and a dedicated dry-ice maker. I'm thinking an expansion type might be a better bet.

I'm on school half-term ATM but I'll see if I can get some photos when I go back.

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2 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Easy enough, I built one for school, the only problem might be getting the dry ice. I used a short pipe coupling, 100mm PVC lined with black flocking. 4 white LEDs for illumination and a circle of acrylic as a top. The alpha source was a thoriated tungsten welding electrode from here:

https://www.diamondground.co.uk/

The dry ice we make on site from a liquid CO2 cylinder and a dedicated dry-ice maker. I'm thinking an expansion type might be a better bet.

I'm on school half-term ATM but I'll see if I can get some photos when I go back.

Thanks for the info, I am wondering if my radioactive lens would work as a source or maybe some pottery, it was much easier though in the good old days when the local chemist could supply the proper stuff :icon_biggrin:

Alan

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Ah, those were the days.

You wouldn't believe the hoops we had to jump through to get our radioactive sources license, and still have to on a regular basis.

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5 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Ah, those were the days.

You wouldn't believe the hoops we had to jump through to get our radioactive sources license, and still have to on a regular basis.

I can believe, I worked in Aerospace and a lot of the high power spark gaps and microwave components had radioactive parts which had to go on a register.

Alan

P.S. a lot of the military compasses and similar indicators were radioactive too.

Edited by Alien 13

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Radioactive lenses!

I have a rather nice 35mm f/2 SMC Takumar that's as sharp as a razor wide open, and spits out a shed-load of beta radiation from its back-side. We use it as a demo item in class, when I'm not using it for photography.

Funnily enough, I didn't take it with me to La Palma. I wonder why? :D.

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3 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Radioactive lenses!

I have a rather nice 35mm f/2 SMC Takumar that's as sharp as a razor wide open, and spits out a shed-load of beta radiation from its back-side. We use it as a demo item in class, when I'm not using it for photography.

Funnily enough, I didn't take it with me to La Palma. I wonder why? :D.

Mines a Takumar Dave, its a great video lens and adds something special to an image that nothing else quite matches.

Alan

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I bought mine for video too, but eventually decided to go with a 35mm f/2.8 Leica R lens, mainly for the longer focus throw.

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In the town my High School was located wasn't governed by the "sharpest tools in the shed."

We asked them for a letter of approval to build a full-on Breeder-Reactor to supply energy. We spoke of needing their 'okay' to purchase Plutonium from the Nuclear Regulatory Commision (NRC).

We got a letter saying it sounds like a wonderful educational-project for "the children." And their 'approval' as well.

We never wrote the NRC. But we did tell the newspapers about our "educational-project!"

I went to a very good high-school. More of a liberal-arts college really. It's where I first taught chemistry at age 15.

Good luck with your cloud-chamber!

Glowing in the Dark,

Dave

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Look like you can get around the need for Dry Ice via a Peltier Cooler...
I keep meaning to buy a couple of those for "experiment" anyway. :evil4:

Edited by Macavity
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One of the scientific supply houses does a peltier cooled cloud chamber, think it's Sci-Chem, will check when I go back.

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The Scientific American published a long series of Amateur Scientist articles back a while and published a compendium "The Amateur Scientist" by C.L.Stong ( I bought my copy in about 1965 !)

In it there is a wonderful chapter on "Nuclear Physics" 0162.jpg.22b23e4b9256caaea62654bf195bf230.jpg

Pertinent to this topic is section 2 on cloud chambers many of which could still be made at home, though the pins with radioactive heads may prove a little difficult !!

There are various dry-ice types that are not really very practical in the UK ( lack of convenient dry-ice. (stackable Peltier coolers were a little way off in the future !) )  but an original Wilson cloud chamber look-alike is described using a sink- drain- plunger as the expansion mechanism in lieu of a piston :-

0156.jpg.06598c6b67b008bf8aa4561daeafafb9.jpg

0157.jpg.e68c518fae472b4eefe07826d4a4238d.jpg

Even better ( ?!) is a liquid piston using two peanut butter jars and a toy balloon as the actuator :-

0161.jpg.32c4cc7678acdfb36b3548ce073e084c.jpg

The downside of these is that they rely on triggering them at the moment a particle is passing thro' easy if you have a source in there, less easy if you have to catch a passing cosmic ray.

Low-salt salt may improve your statistics ( potassium chloride contains some beta emitting K40)

A trawl through some sacks of Cornish grit (granite) with a geiger counter may turn up a little nugget containing uranium and other "stuff".

Sorry about the variable quality of pics, I seem to be having a problem with my flash :(

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8 minutes ago, SilverAstro said:

The Scientific American published a long series of Amateur Scientist articles back a while and published a compendium "The Amateur Scientist" by C.L.Stong ( I bought my copy in about 1965 !)

In it there is a wonderful chapter on "Nuclear Physics" 0162.jpg.22b23e4b9256caaea62654bf195bf230.jpg

Pertinent to this topic is section 2 on cloud chambers many of which could still be made at home, though the pins with radioactive heads may prove a little difficult !!

There are various dry-ice types that are not really very practical in the UK ( lack of convenient dry-ice. (stackable Peltier coolers were a little way off in the future !) )  but an original Wilson cloud chamber look-alike is described using a sink- drain- plunger as the expansion mechanism in lieu of a piston :-

0156.jpg.06598c6b67b008bf8aa4561daeafafb9.jpg

0157.jpg.e68c518fae472b4eefe07826d4a4238d.jpg

Even better ( ?!) is a liquid piston using two peanut butter jars and a toy balloon as the actuator :-

0161.jpg.32c4cc7678acdfb36b3548ce073e084c.jpg

The downside of these is that they rely on triggering them at the moment a particle is passing thro' easy if you have a source in there, less easy if you have to catch a passing cosmic ray.

Low-salt salt may improve your statistics ( potassium chloride contains some beta emitting K40)

A trawl through some sacks of Cornish grit (granite) with a geiger counter may turn up a little nugget containing uranium and other "stuff".

Sorry about the variable quality of pics, I seem to be having a problem with my flash :(

Brilliant stuff, oh for the good old days when you could make most anything.

Alan

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Here's a link to a commercial peltier cooled cloud chamber.

https://education.scichem.com/Catalogue/ProductDetail/cloud-chamber-lascells?productID=dccf728f-5c77-4714-9ec8-0721ff4c5993&catalogueLevelItemID=4721d893-2db1-41cb-8c51-44496db3bb6c

Bit pricey though.

 

Edit:

A look in the Timstar catalogue turned up this:

http://www.timstar.co.uk/product-range/physics/atoms-nuclei/ionising-radiation/ra67510-diffusion-cloud-chamber.html

Which was the model I used for my cloud chamber construction

And this is the Dry Ice maker that we bought. It can be a bit alarming at first, and you do need to source liquid CO2 with liquid draw-off from BOC

http://www.timstar.co.uk/product-range/physics/atoms-nuclei/ionising-radiation/ra85635-dry-ice-maker.html

 

Can't find an expansion chamber yet though.

 

Another edit:

A Google search showed up this expansion chamber:

http://www.teralab.co.uk/Experiments/Expansion_Cloud_Chamber/Cloud_Chamber_Page1.htm

 

And this in Scientific American:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/critical-opalescence/how-to-build-the-worlds-simplest-particle-detector/

Can't see the pictures though.

Edited by DaveS
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I didn't know walter mitty was a member of sgl

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I have a few other projects that I realy need too like a Mass spectrometer, Xray machine, Van de graaff generator and an electron microscope.

Alan

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On 08/06/2017 at 21:12, Alien 13 said:

 Mass spectrometer, Xray machine, Van de graaff generator and an electron microscope.

Xray and VdG both easypeasy and described in the aforementioned SA publication, though the former requires one of the old fashioned bulbous glass valves (as in radio/wireless) with a good coating of getter. ( I still have some here ;) ), and elfinsafe dont despair, they include advice on wearing a lead apron !

A mass spec is a little bit more challenging, but with the advent of neodymium magnets it is more doable than previously :) but acquiring the mercury for the vacuum diffusion pump is less so :(, might need to use oil. My wife used to run a mass spec (amongst other things) and when the lab was closed I made a proposal  - that was declined ! :(

 

 

 

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Oil diffusion pumps come up on the 'bay fairly regularly, or if you're flush a turbomolecular pump and controller might come up. Think nice triplet apo, even second hand. Both of these will need a two-stage rotary pump in the foreline.

 

If you want to see what the Dagenham (Two stops beyond Barking) types get up to, have a look here:

http://www.fusor.net/

I have posted a few times on there, which probably says everything you need to know about me :D.

Edited by DaveS
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Thinking about Particle (Physics) Detectors: Within scope of the "bench"
sized device are the multiwire proportion chamber and/or drift chamber!
Such form the basic part of CERN (electronic) experimental detectors. :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wire_chamber

No vacuum technology needed. A combination of gases is used, usually
Argon-Isobutane but Argon-CO2 also works as non-flammable substitute.
Voltages fairly low ~5kV. You have to work out how to source / handle
very thin wire (20 microns!) build fast-ish electronics... 100MHz Amps.

It is an extension of the Geiger Counter really. But could be extended
to reconstruct tracks -- Much as the real things do! Such has formed
1st year Ph.D. student projects. A demo version would be well within 
range of the "Man with soldering iron" and "DIY tools" I reckon... ;)

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/18/1/011/pdf

Some of our Techies bought a surplus Betattron - About the size and
LOOK of a concrete mixer. :eek: Dunno if it ever worked. lol. It looks as
if you can buy multi-Mev Linacs these days. But how much they cost
I have absolutely NO idea! :D

Edited by Macavity
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On 5/31/2017 at 20:35, Dave In Vermont said:

In the town my High School was located wasn't governed by the "sharpest tools in the shed."

We asked them for a letter of approval to build a full-on Breeder-Reactor to supply energy. We spoke of needing their 'okay' to purchase Plutonium from the Nuclear Regulatory Commision (NRC).

We got a letter saying it sounds like a wonderful educational-project for "the children." And their 'approval' as well.

We never wrote the NRC. But we did tell the newspapers about our "educational-project!"

I went to a very good high-school. More of a liberal-arts college really. It's where I first taught chemistry at age 15.

Good luck with your cloud-chamber!

Glowing in the Dark,

Dave

Must've been rough peaking at 15. The school I went to (best in the state) made fun of our jocks for that. :icon_biggrin: We'd also have known how to put you to work. :hippy2:

Edited by laowhoo

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