Does anyone have (or can recommend) a low level radiation source I can use in preparation for a Geiger Counter experiment? I’ll need it this week.
My cat is going to have an Iodine-131 treatment next week (Hyperthyroid issues). I thought it would be interesting to get a cheap beta/gamma Geiger Counter to track his declining radioactivity once he returns home.
Iodine-131 has a half-life of about 8 days (decays through beta emissions) and is also excreted in urine, sweat, and saliva. He’ll be in quarantine at the vet for several days and then will be in solitary confinement for two more weeks once home.
The $40 Geiger Counter I ordered:
should arrive tomorrow.
I was wondering if someone had a low level radiation source (e.g. an old clock with radium-painted hands, some only-slightly-radioactive uranium ore, or similar) I could use so I could test whether the device works.
My Geekier Plan
If possible, I’d also like borrow the source for a few days for debugging as I throw together an Arduino Sketch to report the readings.
I was thinking of coupling it to an esp8266 and ping a web page to log the readings captured by placing the sensor next to his food bowl (or perhaps the litter box).
Radium decays by alpha emissions (which are blocked by glass and can’t be detected by this device), but other decay products in the decay chain emit beta and gamma emissions. I’m hoping something would make the detector “detect” (other than background radiation) so I can confirm it’s not just random noise in the circuit.
Bananas have Potassium-40 in them (which has a very long half-life). Eating one is supposed to be the equivalent radiation exposure as 1/10th the exposure of an arm radiograph.
Exposure is not ingestion, though: does anyone know if they emit enough beta emissions to be discernible in a reasonable amount of time simply by placing a Geiger Counter near a bunch of them?
Suggestions and critiques solicited and appreciated.