You are on page 1of 8

A cloud chamber is a detector which

displays the tracks of charged


particles.
Basic working principles of
a cloud chamber :
• The felt strip round the top is
soaked with alcohol.This causes
the air in the chamber to be
saturated.
• The colling unit beneath the
chamber floor is filled withdry ice
which cools the bottom of the
chamber to around -80 C.As a
result the air in the chamber
becomes supersaturated.
• A source of radioactive particles
is placed inside.The particle of
radiation ionises the air in its
path.
• The ions allow the vapour to
condense forming tiny alcohol
droplets.
• The trail of alcohol droplets is
visible because it reflects light
from the lamp.
Tracks produced by alpha particle

• The alpha tracks


are thick and
straight.
This shows that
alpha particles
have the
strongest ionising
power and the
biggest mass.
Tracks produced by beta particles

• The beta tracks


are thin and
curvy.This shows
that beta
particles have
low ionising
power and small
mass.
Tracks produced by gamma rays

• Their tracks are


short,curvy and
spiky from the
middle.It shows that
it has the lowest
ionising power.
• The number of radioactive tracks
produced will decrease after a while
because after some time the
condensation of alcohol vapour on the
radioactive source will block the
emission of radioactive rays.