May 20, 2019, 06:58:48 PM
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Topic: How dangerous are radioactive samples?  (Read 908 times)

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Offline FlintyCrayon

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How dangerous are radioactive samples?
« on: December 17, 2018, 09:48:27 AM »
Hi,

I am planning to build a cloud chamber to demonstrate alpha decay for a science exhibition. My question is, what amounts of radioactive samples are still safe to handle? My understanding is that small quantities of uranium ores are relatively safe, but what about other elements? Note that I won't need much, merely enough to demonstrate the alpha decay.

Side question: is there enough americium in a smoke detector to use in a cloud chamber?


While I have been studying medicinal chemistry for the past two years, my knowledge of inorganic chemistry is still pretty small.

Offline chenbeier

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Re: How dangerous are radioactive samples?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2018, 01:38:36 PM »
The samples are safe, if you store them in safety lead containers.
But I dont think you can purchase them  as a private person.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: How dangerous are radioactive samples?
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2018, 05:10:06 PM »
You can handle a solid block of metallic depleted uranium safely. I did it briefly with a massive one 30 years ago and am still alive.

Uranium and thorium ore is but more radioactive. You can handle a stone occasionally. I didn't write: sew it in your pillow.

It gets dangerous when you inhale dust or ingest salts, like miners do.

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