Interdisciplinary blog

Sticky tape X-ray generator

July 23, 2015
by Henry Smith

Part of the EPSRC Vacation Bursaries Scheme 2015

Student name: Edward Briggs and Henry Smith

Student degree course: MChem (Chemistry)

Year of study: End of 2nd year

Supervisor: Jeremy Frey

Vacation Bursary Research project title: Sticky tape X-ray generator

Tell us a bit about you and your chosen research field:

We are both going into our 3rd year of study and both have a specific interest in physical chemistry, the project involves working as a pair alongside the rest of the Frey research group to explore more about the strange phenomena of triboluminescence which is responsible for the generation of photons via peeling sellotape, this effect also happens when sugar cubes are crushed.

Tell us about your specific research project:

The aim of the project is to unravel sellotape in a vacuum and analyse the results. It has been widely reported that when tape is unravelled at moderate speeds photons of high energy including X-rays are emitted (but only when in a vacuum). It has also been previously documented that at atmospheric pressure a blue glow is observed. We will be exploring these effects fully by adding to a group of engineer’s work which was completed as part of their masters.

Using Lego we are to create a motor to dispense the tape at various speeds and image these phenomena. Ultimately, once completed this experiment will be used in outreach programs by the chemistry department at the university as well as (hopefully) gaining a better understand of this effect.

Sticky tape X-ray generatorDescribe any future plans regarding on-going study/postgraduate research connected to your Vacation Bursary project:

We are both doing a 4 year course including a 6 month placement, and must undergo a research project next year. The research project takes place throughout the whole year with the possibility to continue on our current project. The 6 month placement can be in industry or academia and there are a range of physical chemistry placements to apply for.

Categories: Blog. Tags: Blog, edward briggs, epsrc, frey research group, henry smith, interdisciplinary, interdisciplinary research, jeremy frey, University of Southampton, USRG, vacation bursaries, vacation bursary, and xray.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *