Sticky Science A finger's x-ray taken with a tape-powered device. The sticky tape setup is in the background. Image Credit: Carlos Camara, Juan Escobar and Seth Putterman - UCLA
Triboluminescence – Xrays From A Natural Property, Unnaturally
Some of the craziest discoveries are found through happenchance or just simply by accident. In an edition of the latest of these discoveries, it has been perfected that through a process as simple as peeling transparent tape (commonly known as Scotch Tape popularized by 3M) one can capture and develop an xray image on film.
This property of excited electron activity when peeling transparent tape was first noticed about fifty (50) years ago in Russia. Some Russian scientists reported evidence of X-rays from peeling sticky tape off of glass.
Fast forward to California and work done by graduate students and staff researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
The result of this process when recorded by radiographic film is a fuzzy x-ray of the finger bone of physicist Seth Putterman, who runs the lab in which it was made. This undated composite image provided by the UCLA Laboratory of Low Temperatures and Acoustics, shows an image of an x-ray made with Scotch tape superimposed on a hand on top of a vacuum chamber with a roll of Scotch tape mounted on ball bearings inside. Image Credit: AP Photo/ UCLA Laboratory of Low Temperatures and Acoustics, Carlos Camara, Juan V. Escobar and Seth J. Putterman
This excerpted and edited from Scientific American –
Science Friction: An X-Ray Machine Energized by Adhesive Tape
Researchers take an image of a finger using film and some tape
By Susannah F. Locke, Scientific American - October 22, 2008
It may sound bizarre—or like some kind of high school science fair project, but it's not: Researchers have discovered that peeling adhesive tape ejects enough radiation to take an x-ray image. If they stick, the findings could set the stage for a less expensive x-ray machine that does not require electricity.
Lead researcher Carlos Camara, a physicist at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports in Nature today that his team captured x-rays of a finger on film (positioned behind it) by using a simple tape-peeling device (placed in front of it).
How is that possible? It turns out that radiation is released when tape is ripped from a surface. The reason, says Camara: electrons (negatively charged atomic particles) leap from a surface (peeling off of glass or aluminum works, too) to the adhesive side of a freshly yanked strip of tape, traveling so fast that they give off radiation, or energy, when they slam into it.
"We have high hopes that this can be a very inexpensive alternative source of x-rays good enough to take x-ray images," Camara tells ScientificAmerican.com.Conventional x-ray machines require expensive electrical components to create a beam of high-energy electrons that is aimed at a metal target.
Worried about radiation from the tape dispenser on your desk? Don't. In both a conventional and the experimental x-ray machine, electrons travel unhindered by air molecules through a vacuum chamber; that allows them to produce the higher energy needed to make x-rays. Normal air, comprised of nitrogen and oxygen and other gases, slows the electrons to a pace that is so sluggish there is only enough energy left to produce a faintly visible, benign blue light.
Funny what God leaves for us to discover here on this Oblate Spheroid. Check out the property called triboluminescence yourself by peeling tape in the dark.