Monthly Archives: August 2013

Filed under Radiation
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On a recent business trip, I found an airplane at an airplane museum with what appears to be DU. This is not uncommon in airplanes.

Peaks found:
Thorium 234 63.29 keV
Thorium 234 92.38 keV
Thorium 234 92.8 keV
Protactinium 234m 766.36 keV
Protactinium 234m 1001.03 keV

Half Lives of Detected Isotopes (secular equillibrium with U238):
Thorium 234 t0.5 = 24.1 Days
Protactinium 234m t0.5 = 70.2 seconds

Unknown peaks (likely from natural uranium present in the concrete below the aircraft)
162.5 keV Unknown
176.3 keV (186.1 keV) – Possibly from Ra226
231.5 keV (241.98 keV) – Possibly from Pb214
307.3 keV (295.21 keV) – Possibly from Pb214
355.6 keV (351.92 keV) – Possibly from Pb214

Radiation at Six Miles Up!!! – Gamma Spectroscopy in an Airplane!

Filed under Radiation
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I noticed that at ground level, the dose rate was 1 or 2 uSv/hr, but after take off it dropped!!! From 1000 feet (eyeballed) to about 5,000 feet it read 0 uSv/hr on the Poli (1 or 2 CPS, max!). This was due to being too far from the ground radiation (NORM), but too low to pick up lots of background cosmic rays.

My Polimaster misses most cosmic rays and mostly picks up mostly uranium, thorium, potassium, and bremsstrahlung radiation. Neat!

By the time I hit about 15,000 feet the dose rate was rising again. By 33,000 feet the dose rate was at its peak of about 0.5 uSv/hr. I know from the spectrum that most of my dose was from high energy particles. This means my Poli misses most of this dose. lol

Ironically, the plane was probably the source of most of my low level energy dose due to high energy particles striking the hull.

As for the x-ray machine, what could I do? I told the TSA guy what the detector was and he just stared at me… so oh well lol