Ionization Chamber Made of Aluminum Can




In this instructable I will teach you how to build an ionization chamber, which should not cost more than $ 10. Sorry for my bad english, I'm Brazilian, so do not speak very well.

Step 1:

materials needed:
Can of coca cola or other
voltmeter or multimeter
9 volt battery
1k resistor
1 transistor
1 can opener
connector 9 volt battery
Soldering Iron

Step 2:

Make a hole in the bottom of the aluminum can, and then use the can opener to remove her top.
Connect the electronics components of the way I explain in this scheme.
use aluminum foil to cover the open side of the can.

Step 3:

Connect the multimeter in DC voltage meter and place the radioactive material in front of pael aluminum. It only detects large amounts of ionizing radiation (not measure the radiation serves pair of your hand).
To test it use americium from smoke detctores, blankets lamp, luminescent hands containing radium.
if there is intense radiation it only shows the battery voltage, but if there is a source of much radiation it shows much higher voltages than the battery.

Step 4:

You can use it to alert you of a nearby nuclear attack or radioactive contamination.
If you want to also use one of those other projects that are more accurate, but more complex.



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4 Discussions

This project actually does the job and quite contrary to what you say, can become a very sensitive radiation detector if properly approached. First, the can. Larger it is, more sensitive it goes. The wire inside might be formed into sort of a loop, or a metal plate may be soldered to it - just be careful to mount it so it doesn't wobble inside - or even worse - short out, because then you will fry the transistor(s). Second, the chamber voltage - the bigger the better, but you actually don't need 100s of volts (as required by GM tubes) - a voltage of order of 40-50V will do. I have used four 9V batteries in series as chamber voltage with great results, since the can does not actually pass much current they will last forever. Of course nicer approach would be to use some sort of charge pump or step up to multiply the battery voltage.

Once you do the above, be careful not to fry the ammeter - the unit will become very sensitive and can be saturated by nearby electric fields or other emissions.

Mine was made of 4x4x2 inches tin can with 2x Darlington transistor setup and it was super sensitive - a piece of natural uranium ore was maxing it out from a distance of 2-3 inches.

There is also a version with a FET as a front end that is even more sensitive but this one is real pain to properly tune, so sensitive it is.

Otherwise, good nice little project.


6 years ago on Step 4

Interesting concept. Different approach to radioactive detection.


6 years ago on Introduction

thanks for the suggestion, I'll take a look at your project

good. my advice is:
1. replace the aluminum can with something that will NOT block alpha radiation
2. use a higher voltage power source, instructions for a simple one can be found on my electric shocker instructable which if used correctly will be adequate for providing 300-400 volts to the chamber so it is more sensitive.