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3 Counts/Interval vs. Distance Studies The data in the two graphs below were collected by monitoring gamma radiation at various distances from a Radiation Monitor. Data were collected with the run intervals set at 100 seconds. After each 100 second interval, the source was moved one centimeter further from the source. Since distance is proportional to time (300 seconds in the first graph corresponds to 3 cm in the second graph; 400 seconds to 4 cm, etc.), a new distance column was made using time divided by 100. The curved fit shown corresponds to distance raised to the 2 power (inverse squared). Counts/Interval vs. Shielding Studies The data shown here were collected by monitoring gamma radiation with an increasing number of pieces of silver foil placed between the source and a Radiation Monitor. Data was collected with the run interval set at 100 seconds. After each 100 second interval, another piece of silver foil was placed between the source and the Radiation Monitor. Since the number of pieces is proportional to time (300 seconds corresponds to 3 pieces of foil, 400 seconds to 4 pieces of foil, etc.), a new column, pieces of silver foil, was made using time divided by 100. Counts/interval vs. thickness of filter

4 Half-life Determination (Counts/Interval vs. Time) Using a daughter isotope generator, it is possible to generate isotopes with a relatively short half-life. A solution that selectively dissolves a short half-life daughter isotope is passed through the generator. The linear plot of natural log of decay rate vs. time can be used to determine the half-life of the daughter isotope, using the formula ln 2 = k t 1/2 where k is the decay rate constant and t1/2 is the half-life of the daughter isotope (in minutes). In the plot of natural log of decay rate vs. time, the decay rate constant, k, is equal to m. Using the slope value of m = in the example here, the half-life was calculated to be 3.19 minutes. Half-life determination Histogram Data Analysis For an easy in-class experiment, set up a histogram with a very long run time and start data collection. Whenever the graph overflows the top of the graph, it will be rescaled. This data collection shows students how initial randomness of data develops into a Gaussian distribution. A gamma radiation source was used. A distribution graph

5 Lantern Mantels This graph shows a study of old and new Coleman mantle lanterns. These mantles formerly contained thorium and were often used for radiation demonstrations. In the early 1990s, Coleman changed the production methods and now the mantles are not radioactive. New and old lantern mantles Background Radiation Here is an experiment performed in the days before airlines insisted that you turn off your personal computer before takeoff. It shows the counts/interval between takeoff and the time the plane reached its cruising altitude of 39,000 ft. Radiation during an airline flight Curricular Materials Nuclear Radiation with Vernier by John Gastineau This book has six experiments written for the Vernier Radiation Monitor. Each of the six experiments has a computer version (for LabPro, LabQuest, or LabQuest Mini), a calculator version (for LabPro or CBL 2 ), and a LabQuest version (for LabQuest 2 or the original LabQuest as a standalone device). The Nuclear Radiation CD included with the book contains the word-processing files for all student experiments.

6 Radioactive Sources If you don t have radiation sources, you may be able to obtain pre-1990 Coleman lantern mantles or other brands of lantern mantles (for a weak source of Thorium). You may also be able to find pottery, watches, clocks, or minerals that are moderately radioactive. For something more active, order radioactive minerals from these scientific supply houses. The 2.5 cm disk sources of alpha, beta and gamma radiation are particularly convenient. Flinn Scientific Inc. P.O. Box 219 Batavia, IL Phone (800) Spectrum Techniques 106 Union Valley Road Oak Ridge, TN Phone (865) Warranty This product is warranted to the original owner to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for five years from the date of purchase with the exception of the Vernier will, at its own discretion, repair or replace this instrument if it fails to operate properly within this warranty period unless the warranty has been voided by any of the following circumstances: misuse, abuse, or neglect of this instrument voids this warranty; modification or repair of this instrument by anyone other than Vernier voids this warranty; contamination of this instrument with radioactive materials voids this warranty. Contaminated instruments will not be accepted for servicing at our repair facility. The user is responsible for determining the suitability of this product for his or her intended application. The user assumes all risk and liability connected with such use. Vernier is not responsible for incidental or consequential damages arising from the use of this instrument

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