Goal: Detect and measure particle collisions
Materials and Procedure
- You will need dry ice for this experiment. This can sometimes be purchased at party supply stores in small enough quantities for this experiment. Use all recommended safety precautions in handling this material!
- Follow the instructions at Build A Cloud Chamber to construct your own chamber. To see how things go together with a simple setup, watch this video from CERN on making a cloud chamber.
- Use the chamber to detect and count types of events, events in the presence of magnets, events despite metal sheets as barriers.
- short fat straight trails are alpha particles, usually from local radioactive gasses in the soil, like radon
- long straight trails are muons, particles produced when cosmic rays interact with atoms near the surface of the earth’s atmosphere
- zig-zag and corkscrew trailer are electrons or positrons
- forked trails are actual collisions
Rare picture showing all four major types of trails, taken at Pic du Midi By Cloudylabs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- If possible, set up a grid behind your chamber so that you can measure length of trails. See if you can photograph any events.
- If you cannot photograph the events you observe, sketch several representative ones. Identify the type of trail and estimate lengths.
- Standard stuff: You should explain enough that someone else can repeeat your experiment to verify your results.
Post your report to the Lab thread at the Moodle.
© 2005 - 2019 This course is offered through Scholars Online, a non-profit organization supporting classical Christian education through online courses. Permission to copy course content (lessons and labs) for personal study is granted to students currently or formerly enrolled in the course through Scholars Online. Reproduction for any other purpose, without the express written consent of the author, is prohibited.