Yvonne Carts-Powell

The x-ray machine on your desk

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2008 at 12:35 am

When I first heard this it sounded like a hoax. But no — I trust the good folks at Nature journal to do proper peer review.

Researchers at UCLA have shown that simply peeling ordinary sticky tape in a vacuum can generate x-rays. And not just a few: enough X-rays to take an image. It has to do with the friction involved in pulling tape from a surface – a science called tribology. Wired has a video of the process

Huh. Whodathunkit?

  1. I often sleep at night under my unzipped, flannel lined sleeping bag. Have done so for at least 3 years! But only recently did I note that if the lights were out and I shifted the bad to better shelter any exposed areas, that lights spark in the depths of the bag!! Oh no!

  2. Huh, that’s odd! Sparks like static-electricity sparks? Is it pretty dry there? And how would the static charge build up? I seem to recall that flannel is pretty good at building up charge, but what else is it rubbing against?

    At any rate, if it’s letting off energy as visible light, then you probably don’t need to worry about higher-energy x-rays. I think…

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