[ RadSafe ] Background from Static Electricity in Tritium counters
Richard L. Hess
lists at richardhess.com
Fri Dec 23 16:41:47 CST 2005
Dear Dr. Gaitan,
Years and years ago, a product called the Zerostat was made in
England. It looks ever so much like a white gun with a large chrome
trigger. In the front of the gun is a needle and inside is a piezo
electric crystal of some flavour. You squeeze the trigger and it
ionizes the air which drains off static.
It was originally designed for helping to clean phono records. I have
used it for helping with static cling on my wife's dresses.
Although it is still working, it wasn't up to the challenge of a
large cardboard box filled with foam packing peanuts at 35% RH at
21C. I ended up using a vacuum cleaner and sacrificing a bag to
getting all of them out of my room.
Anyway, if you could use something like this to discharge the static
before the measurement, I wonder if that would help. There is also a
spray called "Static Guard" that my wife now uses with her clothes.
She prefers that to me shooting her with invisible ions <smile>. The
Zerostat stays next near my turntable, although I won't admit to
restoring discs commercially as I do tapes.
I don't know if these excess ions will affect your measurements in
other ways, but it's one way of getting rid of small static charges.
Another way -- and I suspect that you don't want any of this loose in
your facility -- was in the 1960s, you used to be able to purchase
anti-static brushes that had a block of polonium in them (I hope I
remembered that correctly--it's been close to 40 years since I saw
one of those in action). These were for cleaning negatives in
Finally, the electronics manufacturing and repair industries have a
wide variety of tools and protocols for draining static charges as
many semiconductor devices are sensitive to static discharge. There
are mats, wrist straps, and I don't know what else, as I've never
actually had to spec one of these workstations other than
generically. (i.e. provide industry-standard static-safe circuit
board rework station).
Cheers and best of the season to everyone!
At 04:30 PM 12/23/2005, Felipe Gaitan wrote:
>Does any body have a suggestion for minimizing the effects of static
>electricity in tritium counters?
>I'm using glass vials. The effect has become obvious since the
>weather turned cold and subsequently the air became drier. I can
>measure the background slowing decreasing over a couple of days as
>long as I leave the vial in the counter. As soon as I take it out
>and then put it back, the background counts jump up again, sometimes
>by as much as a factor of two. It appears to affect some vials and not others.
Richard L. Hess richard at richardhess.com
Aurora, Ontario, Canada http://www.richardhess.com/
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
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