Building A DIY Cloud Chamber

[RCLifeOn] happened to come into possession of some radioactive uranium ore. He thus decided to build a cloud chamber to visualize the products of radioactive decay in a pleasing visual manner.

The construction is fairly straightforward stuff. A 3D-printer build plate was used to heat isopropyl alcohol to a vapor, while a bank of thermoelectric coolers then cool the alcohol down to -30 C to create a dense fog. The build uses a glass chamber with a bank of powerful LEDs to illuminate the fog, making it easier to see the trails from radioactive particles passing through. [RCLifeOn] later used a variety of radioactive sources to deliver a bunch of particles into the chamber for more action, too. He also experimented with blocking particles with a variety of materials.

It’s one of the bigger cloud chambers we’ve seen, and seems to work great. You can build a simple version pretty easily, or you could travel to a local museum or science center if you’re too busy to tackle it at home. Video after the break.

7 thoughts on “Building A DIY Cloud Chamber

  1. By the way, the title of the video is historically incorrect. The original cloud chamber was an expansion cloud chamber invented by Scottish physicist Charles Thomson Rees Wilson. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in 1927. The diffusion-type cloud chamber was developed in 1936 by the American physicist Alexander Langsdorf, but he never received a Nobel Prize for it.
    I myself have recently built an expansion cloud chamber according to Wilson:

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