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Geiger Counter and Samples
# 7D10.10


Use the Geiger counter to detect radioactivity from various sources including:

Radioactive Mineral Samples:
  • Allanite Ontario, Canada
  • Autunite New Hampshire, USA
  • Carnotite Utah, USA
  • Ellsworthite Ontario, Canada
  • Samarskite North Carolina, USA
  • Uranothorite Ontario, Canda

    Other sources:
  • Fiestaware (pottery with radioactive orange coating)
  • Smoke detector element with americium-241 (alpha)
  • Juicer made with "vaseline glass" (or "uranium glass"); the green color is made with uranium oxide, which also fluoresces under a UV lamp.
  • Gas lamp mantle, which includes radioactive Thorium (alpha)

    Instructions: Turn on the audible and battery switches of the Geiger counter. Place the detector side of the Geiger counter near each sample to listen for frequency of detections. Use the paper, wood and metal pieces to block emissions from each source. Turn off the Geiger counter when not in use.

    Principles: These samples emit alpha and beta particles.

    Alpha particles are helium nuclei that may be in the MeV range and can typically be blocked with a piece of paper because of their large mass.

    Beta particles are electrons that are probably in the keV range and typically require metal or thick plastic to block them because of their small size and mass.

    Parts: Geiger counter; radioactive samples; material for blocking radiation (paper, wood, metal)

    Setup Time: none

    Quant. in Demo Room: 1

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