Make a radioactive particle detector with things from around the house… and a few harder to get extras. In this Mission Unstoppable clip with host Amanda Cosgrove, nuclear engineer Dr. Ciara Sivels demonstrates how to make this particle detecting cloud chamber.
Her equipment: A clear container, felt, 90+% isopropyl alcohol, some gum or modeling clay to seal the container, aluminum trays, and two specialty items: dry ice and thoriated welding rods.
Watch as Dr. Sivels assembles the particle detector with correspondent Fionnghuala “Fig” O’Reilly. Sivels also explains how to identify the difference between alpha and beta particles in your DIY chamber.
“All around you, and on every surface of the earth, there is radiation pummeling the atoms that make up the matter that we can see and feel. Even as you read this sentence, you are being bombarded by radiation. Pew! Pew!
“But fear not, it’s completely normal. This background radiation is safe. And though it cannot be seen directly, you can build a cloud chamber to help you indirectly observe radiation and begin to understand it.”
Their site also includes a field guide for identifying different path types caused by the different types of radiation.
• Build a Cloud Chamber with Science Friday
• How to Build the World’s Simplest Particle Detector with Scientific American
Watch these related videos on TKSST next:
• DIY Cloud Chamber – How to build your own particle detector
• Adiabatic expansion and how to make a cloud in a bottle
• How to make a cloud in your mouth
• How to grow snowflakes in a bottle
• What is a comet made of? Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club demonstrates
• Icy Bodies by Shawn Lani, a dry ice exhibit that mixes science with art
This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.
Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.