June 06, 2020, 05:05:09 AM
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Topic: AmBe neutron source  (Read 1553 times)

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Offline Tapeworm

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AmBe neutron source
« on: January 30, 2020, 05:14:28 PM »
Hello,

I'm new here and I wanted to ask seome questions in topic of nuclear chemistry.
I am interested in creating small neutron source (AmBe type) and I have access to needed substances (both elements).
My question is: should I mix powdered forms of both elements or put sheet of one of them on another? Which one would work better?

Tapeworm

Online Enthalpy

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Re: AmBe neutron source
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2020, 07:52:09 PM »
Welcome, Tapeworm!

The basic requirement is that the alpha particles reach the beryllium. Alphas have a very short range in a solid, including in the compound that contains Am, so Am and Be must be mixed very finely. Try to put figures on that. Data there
https://physics.nist.gov/PhysRefData/Star/Text/ASTAR.html
Mixed liquids would be even better, but liquids tend to be much more dangerous, especially as Am compounds are toxic. Toxicity would be a reason to prefer foils over a fine powder.

What kind of education or training do you have? Protective and measurement apparatus?

Offline Tapeworm

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Re: AmBe neutron source
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2020, 10:06:03 PM »
Thank you!!!

For sure, I will use your advices. It is very amateur high school project, so protection isn't on the best level. That's why, it exists only in theory because teachers have to be sure that it is as safe as it's possible.


Online Enthalpy

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Re: AmBe neutron source
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2020, 07:26:12 AM »
I feel americium powder is far too dangerous. Just one grain in the throat, lungs or digestive tract must be bad, and fine powder flies. Beryllium powder has a (debated) bad reputation too. That's why I asked about education, training, protection.

Foils seem less dangerous than powder, but in my opinion, DON'T DO IT at all, even less with students.

Other experiments are interesting too and safe.
Play with Geiger counters to get a sense of ambient radioactivity and sources (including unbroken smoke detectors, old watches, stones...).
Operate a fusor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor this produces neutrons too.
Detect cosmic rays.

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