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Experiment for Radiation: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.
Transcript of Experiment for Radiation: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.
Thank you to NASA and
The Colorado Space Grant Consortium for providing funding and making the flight possible.
Thank you to CCD for providing this learning opportunity.
If radiation is capable of doing this amount of damage to us on earth, where the atmosphere serves as protection; how would a material behave in the presence of radiation in space, where the atmosphere doesn’t play a role?
Everyone is exposed daily to nuclear radiation either from natural or man-made sources.
Natural sources include minerals within the earth, and cosmic rays from the sun and stars which are frequently unavoidable.
People can also be exposed to radiation by local concentrations of nuclear radiation from Radon, uranium mine waste, dissolved radioactive elements in the underground water supply, wind-blown dust and gases from man-made radioactive waste around the sites dedicated to nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons manufacturing plants and nuclear waste landfills .
What Is Radioactivity
radioactivity is the process in which a portion of a molecule (from the nucleus) is given enough energy to break away from the atom.
The material surrounding the atom absorbs the energy of the ejected particle. Compared to other types of radiation that may be absorbed, ionizing radiation deposits a large amount of energy into a small area .
Are associated with long-term, low-level (chronic) exposure to radiation. The damage of radiation can extend to the cellular or molecular level, disrupting the cycle the body uses to repair the cells which results in the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells.
Teratogenic mutations are caused by exposure of the fetus in the uterus and affect only the individual who was exposed.
Genetic mutations are passed on to offspring .
Experiment for Radiation: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.
In the case of Beta decay, the 33 eV from one ionization is more than enough energy to disrupt the chemical bond between two carbon atoms.
All ionizing radiation is capable, directly or indirectly, of removing electrons from most molecules .
Stochastic Health Effects
Non-stochastic effects appear in cases of exposure to high levels of radiation, and become more severe as the exposure increases. Short-term, high-level exposure is referred to as 'acute' exposure .
There is no basis established for the amount of radiation that is safe. However, it is known that the following amounts of radiation exposure cause the following health effects.
Non-Stochastic Health Effects
consist of two protons and two neutrons, in the form of atomic nuclei. Alpha particles are doubly charged (arising from the charge of the two protons).
This charge and the relatively slow speed and high mass of alpha particles mean that they interact more readily with matter than beta particles or gamma rays and lose their energy quickly.
Therefore they have little penetrating power and can be stopped by the first layer of skin or a sheet of paper. But inside the body they can inflict more severe biological damage than other types of radiation .
are fast-moving electrons ejected from the nuclei of many kinds of radioactive atoms. These particles are singly charged (the charge of an electron), are lighter and ejected at a much faster speed than alpha particles.
They can penetrate up to 1 to 2 centimeters of water or human flesh. They can be stopped by a sheet of aluminum a few millimeters thick .
like light, represent energy transmitted in a wave without the movement of material, just like heat and light. Gamma rays and X-rays are virtually identical except that X-rays are generally produced artificially rather than coming from the atomic nucleus.
But unlike light, these rays have great penetrating power and can pass through the human body. Mass in the form of concrete, lead or water is used to shield us from them 
The paper was divided in 4 blocks; one being the control which was completely exposed, the second one was blocked by 0.5 mm of paper
The third one was blocked by 0.8 mm of aluminum and the fourth section was blocked with 1.4 cm of lead .
Materials used in the experiment:
2 Acrylic sheets
Sun Art paper (light sensitive paper)
Data all taken in a 65 minute Period
According to a Colorado State University article, a weather balloon reaches the Stratosphere part of the atmosphere at about 100,000 feet .
Our flight according to the data we recovered went as high as 107,000 feet, bringing us to the edge of space but not completely out of the atmosphere, but most of the ozone is located on this layer.
Exposure Value Graph EV^ -1
Beta radiation seems to be a greater problem getting closer to space as it is on earth, but for sure it is an issue when sending things into space. Beta radiation could easily alter the structure of the material, making it useless for what it was originally intended
Materials that would be susceptible to this type of radiation would be materials that can gain or lose electrons easily. Therefore, after looking at the results from the experiment the conclusion is that the materials that will go to space need to be stable and not be vulnerable to the lost or gain of electrons.
Improving the Experiment
The experiment should travel on the outside of the payload, to allow exposure to alpha particles.
Between every ev measurement with the light meter, a control with a normal white paper should be used. This will assure that the intensity of the light remains constant and will help avoid a false reading.
The source of light could be improved, perhaps something more appropriate that will allow us to focus the light on a source, and if it is not possible, a more professional cone to focus light should definitely be used to avoid a leakage of light and get a more accurate reading.
 "Nuclear Power Plants." Ready.gov. FEMA.gov, 2 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 May 2015. <http://www.ready.gov/nuclear-power-plants>.
"Radiation: Health Effects." EPA.gov. United States Government, 8 July 2012. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/health_effects.html>
Pellegrin, Scott M., Chad Whitney, and Chester G. Wilson. "A Multichannel Nanoparticle Scintillation Microdevice With Integrated Waveguides For Alpha, Beta, Gamma, X-Ray, And Neutron Detection." Journal Of Microelectromechanical Systems 19.5 (2010): 1207-1214. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. (Note: this is a source I took from the Auraria library, access is needed to get to this source) <http://0-ieeexplore.ieee.org.skyline.ucdenver.edu/xpls/icp.jsp?arnumber=5570860>.
 "Radiation: Non-Ionizing and Ionizing." EPA.gov. United States Government, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/>.
 "What Is Radiation?"." World Nuclear Association. World Nuclear News, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://www.world-nuclear.org/Nuclear-Basics/What-is-radiation-/>.
 Hillger, Don, and Garry Toth. "Upper-Air Meteorological Measurements: Weather Balloons." Colorado State University. Colorado State University, n.d. Web. 5 May 2015. <http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/dev/hillger/pdf/weather_balloons.pdf>.