Tritium Powered Lights

Harrkev

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 30, 2001
Messages
443
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
If the licensing is based on the *total* amount of radioactive material in the products, there may be an easy way to sell these things.

Manufacture small glow tubes, each one of which falls under the limit. Each tube could be in a tiny plastic holder.

Then, sell the map-reading magnifying glass with no radioactive material at all. Then, you buy 5 or 6 glow tubes, and snap them in. Same results, but less paperwork.
 

Albany Tom

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
769
Location
Albany, NY
Originally posted by x-ray:
Would a fairly "large" vile of tritium put out enough brightness to generate any current if it was wrapped in some kind of photoelectric cell ?

Yes I'm thinking 10 year, constant power battery - probably too good to be true
smile.gif
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I don't know, but I do know something like that has been done. Pretty sure this is sort of the system of nuclear powered satalites, except with a much nastier radioactive source. (Plutonium?) Think a 1,000,000 year constant power battery...
smile.gif
(Reality - more likely until the photocells burn out. Electronics don't do well in space...)
 

Light Year

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 11, 2002
Messages
12
Location
The Twilight Zone
Originally posted by x-ray:
Would a fairly "large" vile of tritium put out enough brightness to generate any current if it was wrapped in some kind of photoelectric cell ?

Yes I'm thinking 10 year, constant power battery - probably too good to be true
smile.gif
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">This sounds logical, anyone know if it is viable ?
 

Badbeams3

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 28, 2000
Messages
4,389
Theres a fellow selling glow rings for 10 bucks each in the dealers area. Tempting. I have 2...my wife and my mom loove these things. Finding keys in a purse has never been so easy...or so they say.

As far as generating power from a solar cell with these things...I don`t know...you may have better luck pointing you cell at the moon.

Ken
 

Max

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 31, 2001
Messages
258
Location
Teaneck, NJ
Originally posted by x-ray:
Would a fairly "large" vile of tritium put out enough brightness to generate any current if it was wrapped in some kind of photoelectric cell ?

Yes I'm thinking 10 year, constant power battery - probably too good to be true
smile.gif
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">A couple of things:

Tritium's half life is about 12 years, I think, so that is not a constant power battery. It will follow a curve like this one:
halflife.gif


I looked up some info about one of those self-luminous exit signs, and they say that their signs are designed to meet National Fire Protection Associations minimum luminance requirement of 0.06 footlamberts (0.21 cd/sq m) at the end of their 10, 12, 15, or 20 year intended lifetimes. So, let's say that a brand new one puts out about 3 times the minimum required light. That ain't much.

Tritium is a beta emitter. That means it shoots out electrons when it decays. The traser makes light by capturing those electrons and emitting photons. A solar cell makes electricity by capturing photons to move electrons around. There's no way that's an efficient process. If you wanted to really make a voltage source powered by tritium, I would think that you would want to just capture those beta particles directly.
 

Max

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 31, 2001
Messages
258
Location
Teaneck, NJ
Originally posted by Albany Tom:
I don't know, but I do know something like that has been done. Pretty sure this is sort of the system of nuclear powered satalites, except with a much nastier radioactive source. (Plutonium?) Think a 1,000,000 year constant power battery...
smile.gif
(Reality - more likely until the photocells burn out. Electronics don't do well in space...)
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Read here: http://faculty.erau.edu/ericksol/courses/sp300/ch8/elect_ch8.html

Apparently the best radioactive materials to use for space probes have half-lives in the 10-100 years range, like plutonium 238 with a half-life of around 88 years.
 

Roy

Farewell our Curmudgeon Administrator
Joined
Apr 14, 2002
Messages
4,465
Location
Granbury, Tx USA
The nuclear power supplies you're thinking of are called Thermal Isotope Generators. They us the decay heat of large quanities of high energy radioactive material. They use thermocouples to convert the heat into electricity.
 
Top