Last session we conducted an experiment unlike any I’ve ever done, and yes, all things mentioned in the title were used.
To observe the decay of radioactive particles, creating a cloud chamber.
cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, plastic cup, petri dish, styrofoam bowl, play doh, magnets, black construction paper, tape, dry ice, radioactive material, flash light
- Gather the materials
- Put cotton balls on inside of clear cup and secure them with magnets
- Soak cotton balls with rubbing alcohol
- Cover one face of the petri dish with circle cut outs of black construction paper to make things easier to see
- Tape the petri dish back together
- Put dry ice in the styrofoam container and put it underneath the petri dish
- Put the cup with the cotton balls upside down on top of the petri dish
- Use play doh to stick the cup and dish together
- Wait 10 minutes
- Turn off the lights
- Use flashlight and observe
- Untape the petri dish and add few chunks of the radioactive material, tape back together
- Wait 10 minutes, and observe
After waiting the first 10 minutes, our group did not see anything besides a thin layer of mist above the black construction paper. So, we decided to take off the play doh and replace it with tape. A few minutes later, we saw a cloud form. And then when the radioactive material was placed, a charged particle of some sort shot out , creating a short trail. This occurred in about 5 to 10 second intervals and was only seen when looking at it from the side opposite the light source.
The experiment could have been improved through having a better light source, using tape instead of play doh to seal the cup better, and having more radioactive material present so that there was more to see