Conventional design of DIY cloud chamber uses IPA and cooling down to -26..-33°C (sometimes even lower, down to dry ice temperature).

What could be changed in design approach to shift operating point closer to room temperature? -15°C is much easier to maintain with single-stage TEC compared to -26..-30°C. And something around 0°C could be easily achieved in large volumes. On the other hand - heating (if needed) is much easier than cooling.

For me it is not clear why optimal temperature is so low, and hence unclear whether I should pick liquids with lower or higher boiling point (acetone / water or other non-toxic solvents).


If you prefer to avoid low temperatures, maybe you should use the original approach to supersaturation - pressure change (see e.g. https://www.citycollegiate.com/wilson_cloud_chamber.htm).

EDIT (5/26/2019): The OP asked for a "steady-state" solution in their comment. Such a solution is described in R.S.I. (Review of Scientific Instruments), vol. 10, March 1939, p. 91, http://hep.ucsb.edu/people/hnn/cloud/articles/ALangsdorfRSI10_91_1939.pdf). It includes heaters, vaporizer, and a refrigerator, which can apparently operate at ice (not dry ice) temperature. See also the literature review there.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ see this youtube.com/watch?v=UyqIjSnFlmk $\endgroup$ – anna v May 26 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ That is a viable room-temperature approach. But is it possible to find a "steady-state" solution to the problem? $\endgroup$ – BarsMonster May 26 at 10:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.