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Is it possible to build a cloud chamber by using normal ice instead of the usual dry ice? The temperature for dry ice is about 200$K$ while it is about 270$K$ for normal ice.

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  • $\begingroup$ From this video youtube.com/watch?v=400xfGmSlqQ you could do the experiment with normal ice and see what happens. As explained the whole depends on the temperature differential and the saturation of alcohol molecules. It may be that the fact that the dry ice does not run and that the effect is seen faster that it is used , and that with some extra difficulty you could use normal ice. $\endgroup$ – anna v Mar 7 '15 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ yes, that's why I ask this question. I want to see if someone knows a successful demo with normal ice before I start to prepare for another experiment with normal ice since I have done the dry ice case and it works pretty well it's just that dry ice is much more expensive and not easy to get. I guess I will have to try it out. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – M. Zeng Mar 7 '15 at 5:52
  • $\begingroup$ My local supermarket (grocery store) in the US has dry ice. Other places it may be harder to find. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Mar 7 '15 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Did you try it? If you did, please answer your question so others can learn from it. $\endgroup$ – Rick Sep 30 '15 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Rick sorry I haven't tried yet $\endgroup$ – M. Zeng Oct 2 '15 at 6:48
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This link here describes how to build a cloud chamber without dry ice. Cooling is provided by an air duster ("The difluoroethane it releases is cold enough to supercool alcohol vapor, which is what you need for a cloud chamber.")

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  • $\begingroup$ I check online that the boiling point is -25 $C^{o}$, which is still much lower than zero. So I guess normal ice would not be enough for the cloud chamber if it's under normal atmospheric pressure. $\endgroup$ – M. Zeng Sep 25 '16 at 3:31
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The other cheap method (cheap if you have a tech-junk collection: CPU heatsink and peltier cooling modules) is this: https://www.google.com/search?q=pelter+cloud+chamber

A local hobbyist did it with two stacked thermoelectric coolers, but mentioned that even a single one can work, if the heat sink can keep the temperature low enough, see http://www.nothinglabs.com/cloudchamber/

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Using water ice and salt combination I have been able to get to $-21^\circ\rm C$. I have seen a demo of doing a cloud chamber with water ice online somewhere. I'm looking again today.

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