Impact of Ventilation on Ambient Radiation


Radioactive radon gas accounts for approximately 50% of the average person's yearly exposure to radiation (source). Because radon is a gas, increased ventilation should decrease the overall concentration of radon in a room, and hence should decrease the dose of ambient radiation absorbed per unit time. We can confirm this with the CERN@School Timepix chips.


  • Leave the doors and windows of a room closed overnight
  • In the morning, record data for an unventilated room, as described below
  • Open doors and windows for 15 minutes, then record data for a ventilated room

Data Capture

  • Set up the chips for data capture as described here
  • Capture 60 frames of one minute each
  • Go to File… Save measurement, labelling the file as follows…
  • … So for an investigation into radon gas by Johnny A-L and Robert B at Simon Langton Boys School, the data file investigating a ventilated room this Monday would be called radon_ventilated_SLBS_7-7-14_JAL-RB
  • Compress the frames into a zip file and upload the file to ArcGIS, including as much information as possible
  • Use the VM to analyse the data, then report your findings below


// Please copy and paste the below template for each report you compile //


Date and Time:
Location (human readable, eg SLBS Canterbury):

Link to data on ArcGIS:

Analysis (discuss what the data shows, discuss significance if possible):

Conclusion (does the data support the hypothesis?):

Simon Langton Boys School

Researchers: Robert Beesty, Johnny Allain-Labon
Date and Time: 15/07/14, 7:45 am
Location: SLBS Canterbury

Link to data on ArcGIS: unventilated and ventilated.

Analysis (discuss what the data shows, discuss significance if possible):
ROOT analysis of the data is available for the unventilated room and the ventilated room. Looking at the two graphs (and the bounds of error for the values calulated), there is no significant difference in levels of background radiation between a ventilated and unventilated room. Only figure 5b, the rate of bipixel gamma clusters, showed a difference, with 0.63 +- 0.10 per minute for an unventilated room, and 0.40 +- 0.08 for a ventilated room. This does not seem to be sufficient proof for our hypothesis.

As there is no significant difference between radiation levels in a ventilated and an unventilated room, the hypothesis would seem to be disproved. There are many explanations for this: the room is too big to reach a sufficient concentration of radon to reach the chip; the ground on which the school is based is not radioactive enough to produce much radon; there are other sources of ventilation in the room we used. Further testing, to investigate these sources of error, is required.


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