In one of the weirdest science stories I’ve read in awhile, some scientists took an x ray using simple sticky tape (what in America is commonly called Scotch Tape).

Some kids are aware that if you unroll sticky tape in a dark room you sometimes see light emissions. But in the latest experiment in UCLA, scientists decided to follow up on an old Russian report and unroll the tape. To increase the likelihood of emissions, they put the tape in a vacuum, and using a machine that unrolled it at 3 cm a second, voila: X Rays.

According to the NewYork Times, other cheaper tapes gave off X rays at a different spectrum. Sorry, DuctTape fans: it doesn’t emit any evil rays, and they haven’t gotten around to checking out masking tape.

All of this is called “triboluminescence”, and occurs with things rubbing against each other.

“It is a discharge process,” says Camara. “It is not clear exactly what mechanism is taking place, but electrons are plainly flying from one side to the other at very high speed and when they hit the other side and they stop, x-rays are emitted.

This type of research could lead to ways of checking if the modern glues used to hold things together would weaken, and might give insight into the flashes of light seen near earthquake faults before the quakes occur. And experiments could give insight into using such emissions for things such as nuclear fusion, according to the NYTimes…

But as a doctor, the part I find interesting is that such a simple way to emit X rays could be used for medicine in isolated areas. But since the tape only emits well in a vacuum (perhaps air or humidity interfere with the phenomenum) it might be awhile before we substitute Scotch tape Xrays in our offices and hospitals.


You tube has film LINK


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes medical essays at HeyDoc Xanga blog.

Be Sociable, Share!