A particle cloud chamber is a device that makes visible to the human eye the presence of certain particles and cosmic rays. This paper will discuss the process in which a successful chamber prototype was developed. This paper will also discuss how the chamber utilizes the properties of a supersaturated environment to detect these particles. Finally, plans for the future development of a larger model to study the charge and energy of particlesthrough the use of a magnetic field is presented.
The purpose of a particle cloud chamber is to detect various types of particles that are present or pass through the chamber viewing area. Though there are many different types of chambers to chose from, it was decided that a continuous, dry ice-based model be built. In the dry ice-based model a supersaturated cloud is formed at the bottom of the alcohol filled chamber. The dry ice creates a temperature gradient which causes the supersaturation. Many different variations were tested and built until a stable prototype was completed. With the prototype complete, a larger scale model will go under production boasting a much larger viewable area. With this model it will be possible to accurately study the affects of a magnetic field to determine particle charge and energy.
Cloud chambers are very interesting in that they demonstrate first hand radiation trails emanating from an alpha source. "Video Analysis of Cloud Chamber Phenomena"8 states that the best way to view this phenomena is to incorporate a camcorder. The article argues that camcorders increase the amount of people that can view the experiment without overcrowding. Also this technique provides increased resolution and magnification, thus making beta tracks visible. In this article, Jason Cassidy concludes that the use of a camcorder is more convenient, practical and the cloud chamber a more powerful tool.
In the "Sourcebook on Atomic Energy"3 the author concludes more saturation and pressure results in increased frequency of radiation trails.