Chemical Etching of Plastic Nuclear Track Detectors
Student: Janet Ruedas
Prairie View A&M University, Texas
Major: General Engineering with emphasis on Chemical Engineering
Degree Level: Master of Science
Internship Site: NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Mentor: Dr. Ramona Gaza
Abstract: When charged particles pass through CR-39 detectors, they lose energy and break the molecular bonds of the CR-39 polymer to form paths of high chemical reactive sites along their trajectories. These trajectories can be revealed as etched cones on the surfaces of CR-39 detectors by chemical etch for a CE-39 plate. Chemical etching for plastic nuclear track detectors (CR-39) and thermoluminescence measurements were performed per established techniques currently used by the Space Radiation Analysis Group (SRAG) at NASA/JSC. Work objectives included: working with the sodium hydroxide (NaOH) etching solution, etching the plastic nuclear track detectors, measuring the detectors pre- and post-etch. The goal was to calculate the bulk etch and prepare the detectors for storage for future analysis. Over 150 CR-39s were etched successfully and the bulk etch values were analyzed for accuracy using the standard errors and error propagation.
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