Author Topic: Upper and Lower Explosive Limits on Confined Flammable Vapors at -79 C.  (Read 434 times)

Offline Patrick

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I'm needing some help with the math on the next steps involving my cloud chamber. Ive reached the point where i need to add the high voltage field gradient to show improvement over what Ive already achieved.

Toward that end I need to ensure safety of operation. I know other commercial, classroom and personal cloud chambers don't seem to include any extra precautions to prevent the saturated alcohol vapor from exploding but I'd like to. I'm thinking of inerting the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, nitrogen or argon as is done in fuel tanks of fighter and bombers which are shot at. looking here: https://www.osha.gov/chemicaldata/1034 I see the LEL to be 3.3% and the UEL is 19%, if I can push the oxygen out of its normal ratio of 21% and replace the "working volume" of the cloud chamber to almost entirely alcohol, nitrogen, and another gas, there would be no oxygen left to ignite should a spark occur.

So the question becomes the math. . . If air is 21% O2, 78% N2 and I add a volume X of a non-oxygen gas how much by volume would that need to be to drive the L/U EL far from hazardous?

I'm thinking about graphing the normal air of 21%/79% as a f(x) and the "gas of addition" represented by g(x), but I'm not sure if that's the right way to do it or if there is a better way. If this is the right way to do it, I would just follow the graph to diminishing O2 percentage and operate the chamber near extinction.

Am I crazy ?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2024, 09:31:29 PM by Patrick »
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Offline Twospoons

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Well, if you are using ethanol then to get 3% vapor you'd need it to be at about 10C. Super-cooling is going to drop the ethanol vapor pressure well below the LEL, even though it will be over saturated. Lower temperatures will also raise the LEL.
Liquid ethanol has a flashpoint of 12.8C.

Realistically you don't need to worry.

If you do still want to inert your chamber, I wouldn't bother calculating gas ratios. Just do a CO2 or N2 flood, then add your alcohol.

Offline alan sailer

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I'd agree on the low danger. If you make your ionizing source with small enough current a spark will be impossible.
I've seen videos of cloud chambers "cleared" with a static covered balloon.

Also, in any reasonable height cloud chamber the distance between the electrode on the top of the chamber and
the "ground" at the bottom is several inches.

Cheers.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2024, 06:06:45 PM by alan sailer »

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