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Cloud Chamber Art

Witness the beauty of particle physics
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Cloud chambers are devices that can be used to observe the movements of alpha and beta particles as they pass through a supersaturated vapour. [please see links]

In a diffusion-type cloud chamber, the bottom of the chamber is cooled to produce a temperature gradient in which trails can be seen.

The vapour condenses into droplets when disturbed and ionized by the passage of a radioactive particle. This produces a fascinating display. These devices can often be found at science centers.

I propose a poster-sized frame containing a vertical cloud chamber. This would make an incredible addition to any room and provide a perfect conversation piece.

Catering to the geek crowd, the piece should feature a smart brushed-metal finish and an LED backlight. An accompanying booklet would explain the basics of cloud chambers for the benefit of the less-than-casual observer.

Of course, the deluxe version also features shifting coloured LEDs with the option to add ambient sound.

The sound would be triggered by a particle detector and would thus match the display in a simliar way to a Winamp plugin. Just picture a mini version of the 'tunnel of mystery' at the Chicago airport.

Remember to use a sturdy nail to hang your new frame.

Thank you for your feedback.

victor, Jul 05 2006

Radioactivity Detection http://home.clara.n...l/nucrad/detect.htm
Description of a cloud chamber and other detectors [victor, Jul 05 2006]

Bubble Chamber http://www.levitated.net/p5/chamber/
A rendered version of a bubble chamber [victor, Jul 05 2006]

Cloud Chamber http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Cloud_chamber
Information from Wikipedia [victor, Jul 05 2006]

[link]






       I have a sturdy nail.   

       He's called Nigel.
po, Jul 05 2006
  

       + I'm trusting you on this because the *art* sounds really nice.
xandram, Jul 05 2006
  

       Great idea the patterns are really fractal-like and interesting.   

       One question though - what's going to provide the particles - or do you just hang it up near the telly ?
monojohnny, Jul 05 2006
  

       "We're only making plans, for Nigel"   

       XTC
normzone, Jul 05 2006
  

       [monojohnny] That's the best part - the particles are already there! In your home, your office, on the street. These things are constantly flying through the air (and you).
victor, Jul 05 2006
  

       Just him?
That hardly seems fair.
  

       +   

       Some hints on implementation:   

       The temperature gradient may be possible to create from layered Peltier devices.   

       A black velvet background and frontlighting (LEDs are good) would make for best viewing.   

       A pinful of Americium 241 as from a smoke detector (do not try this at home!) will help create interesting particles (alpha and gamma). And a fairly strong magnetic field will cause loops and coils in the particle paths.   

       At a higher pricepoint, a bubble chamber (see description in first reference) might be significantly easier to maintain.   

       Bravo!
csea, Jul 06 2006
  

       Thanks for the ideas [csea]!   

       I like the idea of a strong magnet on some kind of sliding rail system behind the frame. This would give an element of interaction to the art.   

       I figure this could serve a similar role to a plasma lamp: Passive or active art.
victor, Jul 07 2006
  
      
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