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Scientists Discover that Scotch Tape Produces X-Rays

Scientists have found that the everyday Scotch tape you use to tape paper and other household materials has another use: it produces X-rays.

A finger x-ray made with Scotch tape; in the background, a vacuum chamber with a roll of Scotch tape mounted on ball bearings inside.: Credit: AP Photo/ UCLA Laboratory of Low Temperatures and Acoustics.A finger x-ray made with Scotch tape; in the background, a vacuum chamber with a roll of Scotch tape mounted on ball bearings inside.: Credit: AP Photo/ UCLA Laboratory of Low Temperatures and Acoustics.The researchers, from the University of California at Los Angeles, said they were very surprised at the discovery. They were investigating a report that Soviet scientists found that peeling sticky tape releases pulses of X-rays.

After unwinding a standard roll of Scotch tape in a vacuum, using a motorized peeling machine at a rate of three centimeters per second, the UCLA scientists also observed X-rays. They measured that the X-rays were powerful enough to take images of bones in fingers and hands. With these results, the researchers predict that X-rays emitted by tape could have some useful applications, since it's quick, cheap, and potentially safer than conventional X-ray machines.

Researcher Carlos Camara said that they did not know exactly how the tape produces x-rays, but explained that the key is when two contacting surfaces move against each other. As the tape peels, the sticky part likely becomes positively charged, while the non-sticky polyethylene becomes negatively charged.  

Electric fields can build up and cause electrons to fly from one side to the other at high speeds when under reduced atmospheric pressure, such as in a vacuum. The electron movement results in X-ray pulses of 100 milliwatts that last for a billionth of a second.

The researchers noted that the effect only occurs in a vacuum, so peeling tape in your home or office won't subject you to harmful radiation.

The study is published in a recent issue of Nature.

via: AP News

Comments
Oct 23, 2008
by Anonymous

NOT SCOTCH

NOT SCOTCH TAPE!!!!!!!!!!

damn socialists!

Oct 23, 2008
by Anonymous

Skitch

I noticed it glows a bit when you peel it in the dark, too.

Oct 24, 2008
by Anonymous

...investigating a report

...investigating a report that SOVIET(???) scientists ...

did I miss something in history class?

Oct 24, 2008
by Anonymous

socialism, as it's been

socialism, as it's been instituted, violates basic freedom of association.

Oct 24, 2008
by Anonymous

-------- ...investigating a

--------
...investigating a report that SOVIET(???) scientists ...

did I miss something in history class?
--------

most likely, this is some document that was written 30+ years ago that has only recently been translated into English.....

Oct 25, 2008
by Anonymous

USA is a country of 50%

USA is a country of 50% assholes and 50% of normal people, and generally it's a shity country, don't even compare USA science with the USSR science.

Oct 29, 2008
by Anonymous

Hmm

I'm not sure how seriously I can take an article that refers to a "Soviet scientist"..

Nov 2, 2008
by Anonymous

Screww all of you there are

Screww all of you there are good scientists in both the USA and the USSR

Nov 3, 2008
by Anonymous

soviet vs. russian

I believe people were referring to the concept that it's now Russia, not the USSR, and not to the idea that Russians are somehow inferior scientists.

Nov 3, 2008
by Anonymous

so you just peel tape off of

so you just peel tape off of your finger and there's an x-ray on it? Cause if thats it i think it would be pretty well known by now. If theres something more what is it cause i really wanna try this.

Nov 4, 2008
by Anonymous

Vacuum?

I think I have spotted a problem. If you want to x-ray your finger, you have to put it in a vacuum!

Nov 5, 2008
by Anonymous

Only the tape has to be in a

Only the tape has to be in a vacuum, not your finger. In the picture, it looks like there is a piece of glass separating the tape (presumably in a vacuum chamber) from the guy's finger. The strip on top of the guy's finger is some kind of screen or x-ray film, not tape.

Nov 11, 2008
by Anonymous

Political Rants

@ socialism, as it's been ... and many more of you

It is amazing to see that those indoctrinated in the anti-socialism ways of the West automatically vomit out denigrating commentry on the lack of merits of socialism whenever they see something even remotely concerning it.

...careful, your Pavlov's Dog conditioning is showing!

Nov 15, 2008
by Anonymous

By Soviet scientists they no

By Soviet scientists they no doubt mean that Russian scientists found out about it back when the country was the Soviet Union.
Very weird discovery. Although why this is "news" when it was discovered by scientists long ago. Will the Americans wish to re-invent the wheel too?

Nov 18, 2008
by Anonymous

cool thing with practical applications

This is so worthy of further investigation. I can imagine that it would be great for medical imaging in developing countries or for field medics. I wonder if it can be done with something more reusable, presumably the effect is somehow linked to the glue on the scotch tape and may not repeat if the glue gets worn down.

As for the silly arguments about soviet scientists, one word - sputnik

Though if you wish to have a pop at soviet politicians and the Lysenkoist agenda from 1920 through to 1964, that seems fair game as long as you don't think that western governments haven't been guilty of much the same thing over various topics in the recent past. Some that spring to mind would include the efficacy and safety of drugs both medical and recreational, climate change, evolution and some aspects of the nuclear industry.

Nov 26, 2008
by Anonymous

why must we bicker at all the little things

first of all this is the first i've heard of this tape ex-ray do you have a photo of this actually working. because too me it looks like any body can get away with pulling a pharse. I am by far no scientist. but isn't that a shadow that they are seeing. I mean show me a break in the bone and i might believe you . or maybe im just ignorant too the rivals of our times.but im not falling for it with this picture as the proof maybe remove the tape and lets see if it remains after its went through the proper procedures. i dont know it sounds like taxpayers money going too waste if you ask me and i guess no one is asking me .

Nov 26, 2008
by Anonymous

My vaccum

Damn it people! I tried this and I broke my vaccum..... Now I'm out of tape, I hurt my finger in the vaccum, and it caused my vaccum to stop working. Thanks a lot for ruining my life. I'm gonna sue you on Judge Judy for some tape, pain and suffering, and a new vaccum....... I'll take an Oreck please!