Absorption of Nuclear Radiation (Lab 1)

Topics: Percent difference, Mathematics, Ionizing radiation Pages: 4 (1154 words) Published: April 4, 2012
PHY 114:
Absorption of Nuclear Radiation


The purpose of this experiment was to determine the mass thickness attenuation factor for beta rays when they pass through polyethylene sheets of varying thicknesses. This was done by using an apparatus that measured the seven different intensities and then taking these values, putting them through a number of calculations and finally generating a graph of ln(I_corr) versus the thickness of the polyethylene sheets. Once this graph was created, it was possible to apply a linear fit and using that, it was possible to determine the slope of the line. The slope was then used to calculate the mass thickness attenuation factor which ended up being (0.197m ± 0.008) g/cm2. This value was then compared to the theoretical value of 0.2 g/cm2 through a percent difference computation. The percent difference was found to be a mere 1 percent which allowed for the conclusion that the results were very accurate. This was further supported by the graph that was generated because it showed the trend that was expected to be seen. Overall, the experiment was quite successful with only one minor, possible source of error and that being a slight misreading of the intensity apparatus which would explain the 1 percent difference.


In this experiment there were a couple different objectives. The first objective was to gain an understanding of mass thickness attenuation through an investigation using beta rays and polyethylene sheets of different thicknesses. The second objective was to gain practice with new and unfamiliar laboratory instruments.

Experimental Procedure:

For this experiment, there were multiple parts to the procedure. The first part was to find the voltage at which the specific G-M counter operates. This was done by first setting the timer to auto and placing the beta tray in the G-M tube. Next, the counter set up was powered on, reset, and started by...
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