Unpeeling Sticky Tape in a Vacuum Produces X-Rays

Thanks to Jack Cole on Vortex-l for finding this 2008 article on the Nature website.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angles discovered that when you simply unpeel regular sticky tape in a vacuum, x-rays are emitted — enough to take an image of a finger.

Here’s a video that shows the process at work. At the 4:10 mark you can see how a Geiger counter is able to easily detect the production of radiation.

The article in Nature explains that the phenomenon being investigated was not new:

This kind of energy release — known as triboluminescence and seen in the form of light — occurs whenever a solid (often a crystal) is crushed, rubbed or scratched. It is a long-known, if somewhat mysterious, phenomenon, seen by Francis Bacon in 1605. He noticed that scratching a lump of sugar caused it to give off light.

The leading explanation posits that when a crystal is crushed or split, the process separates opposite charges. When these charges are neutralized, they release a burst of energy in the form of light.

As long ago as 1953, a team of scientists based in Russia suggested that peeling sticky tape produced X-rays. But “we were very sceptical about the old results,” says Escobar.

This article is seven years old now, and this is the first time I have seen it mentioned in the LENR community. A search to see if there has been much follow-up research on this topic uncovered only this thesis titled “Surface Distribution and X-Ray Emission From Scotch Tape” by Kelly McGuire at Brigham Young University Idaho. In this study, the author reported:

I observed that changes in the velocity of the tape unraveling from the spools caused change in the x-ray count. Tests were done to determine if there was a significant difference between x-ray count and different velocities. . . The current hypothesis is that as the tape unravels at higher velocities around the spools, the glue flows more quickly and does not allow for charge to build up on the tape’s surface. In other words, glue flow seems to be dependent on velocity.

It’s interesting to find an interesting and unexpected discovery comes about with an ordinary household item. It reminds me how sticky tape was connected with the discovery of graphene when researchers were able to peel thin layers of carbon from a graphite block with the tape. Maybe there’s a further part sticky tape can play in LENR research, too.

  • Frechette

    Not sure if it works with quartz frit. I’ll have to give it a try.

  • LION

    Experimenters keen to save costs and time may find the following links useful,–http://www.ashland.com/products/gafchromic-radiotherapy-films,— and http://www.onlydent.co.uk/Dentalfilm_Ergonom-X. IN the end you will of course need the services of a professional lab such as -http://www.npl.co.uk/about/

  • Not to mention the support of the Illuminuti

  • Omega Z

    On YouTube, search for “triboluminescence” and you’ll find an assortment of this phenomena.

    A form of this that more people would be aware of is the wintergreen mint crunch that gives off a bluish green light in the dark.

    it produces X-rays, When done in a vacuum.(?)
    It appears that X-rays may also cause triboluminescence(?) at a distance. At about 8 minutes- The paper is of Barium Platinocyanide, a Phosphorescent material.

    X-rays(Discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen) are one of those accidental discoveries. Note there are to many Scientists who tend to brush off certain phenomena as artifacts or errors & such.

    It is accidental discoveries that tend to change the world. They can also be dangerous. Consider what they did with X-rays before they new the dangers. Or the consequences for Madame Curie. Will they discover dangers of LENR years after? Some emissions yet unknown…

  • Oystein Lande

    Just tried this with duct tape!! Showed my two kids and wife in a dark bedroom…

    Take half a meter and stick it together. Don’t need to Peel fast, just slow peeling and we saw a continous stream of light……the light of science.

    Just wished I had a geiger counter to at least check for myself if there is something more happening without vacuum…..

    Fun 😃

  • Rob Lewis

    When I was a kid developing my own photographic film I thought I was crazy the first time I saw the flash of light when I pulled the film off the spool in the darkroom.

    • bachcole

      Rob, don’t get it in your mind that you aren’t crazy, just because of one little confirmation. After all, you are here, and there are numerous people lined up to tell you that you are crazy for believing in LENR. (:->)

  • The best visible light triboluminesnce I’ve seen was one night when I pulled some self-adhesive sticker off the windshield of a rental car. It was on the inside and I was outside. I’ve always meant to experiment more with sticky on glass….

    The most frequent triboluminesnce I’ve seen was in photographic darkrooms. Film was taped to the spool in the cartridge and peeling it off produced decent light, I think enough to expose the film the tape was on (or the electric field shenanigans did it).

    Both of these are far less energetic than the effect that produces X-rays, and I assume that’s far less energetic than the anti-matter generation recently discovered above some thunderstorms.

  • Frechette

    Wack two pieces of quartz rocks together produces plenty of light. Been there done that when I was a kid more than 60 years ago.

  • Frechette

    Opening a Breath Right nasal strip by pulling apart the envelope in which it is packaged will emit light that is clearly visible in a darkened room. The strips are sandwiched between two paper sheets held together with an adhesive. Separating these sheets produces a bluish green light.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    Could there be some LENR taking place here?

    Vinyl carbamates have a H-N bond. Could the static charges initiate the following reactions?

    H(1) + N(15) > He(4) + C(12) 4.9655 MeV

    H(2) + N(14) > He(4) + C(12) 13.5742 MeV

    H(2) + N(15) > He(4) + C(13) 7.6872 MeV

    The MeV alphas interacting with electrons could cause bremsstrahlung (“braking radiation”) and give off X-rays.

    Maybe some unraveled tape could be put into some heavy water, D2O (with some sort of base) to do a deuterium hydrogen exchange reaction so you would have a D-N bond (then dry and rewind the tape) [D = H(2)]. Then you would have more of the following reaction.

    H(2) + N(14) > He(4) + C(12) 13.5742 MeV

    • Obvious

      Static charge ejecting electrons and causing bremsstrahlung X-Rays from collisions with anything in their path is probably the actual mechanism. Only low kV is required.

      • Alan DeAngelis

        Yeah, most likely. I’m just thinking out loud.

        • Obvious

          For visible light, the emissions are probably direct. But once X-rays are seen, then I think the static route is more likely. They could both be simultaneous, confusing the issue.

  • Obvious

    The control, non-sticky tape, is a nuisance to work with. It unrolls itself and gets terribly tangled easily.

  • Ethan Siegel from starts with a bang has hypothesized that Cold Fusion scientists has used this process, or similar, to fake clicks on Geiger counters.

    • Alan DeAngelis

      And the kilowatts of heat are from a hidden hamster.

      • As to my recollection, no hamster was mentioned.

        He mentioned, scientific misconduct, mismeasurement of heat, as well the possibility that Cold Fusion is real.

        Ethan has all these scenarios to consider, how can he find out which one is real. Well he can’t because he dont know how to make a Cold Fusion reactor, and no one wants to invite him for testing because we are all afraid of bad publicity.

        • Alan DeAngelis

          Yeah, and there were accusations that respected researchers were spiking their cells with tritium (the best way to ruin their reputations).

          • “Free the slaves, and build your army”

            The world has drastically changed since 1989.
            We have learned from That situation.

            When history repeats itself, we stand here to take advantage.

  • Dave Lawton

    When we were running our very fast paper tape readers on our computers the could produce excess of 50,000 volts, now that would make a geiger counter rattle.It was due to the high electric field.

  • pg

    Sticky tape, ok…
    On the other hand it is now less than 5 months to the (estimated) conclusion of the 1MW plant test. That is exciting!

  • bachcole

    We must not tell hysterians about this, or the market for sticky tape is going to collapse. (:->)

  • This is referred to in Peter Diamandis’ book ‘Abundance’ (2012) where a company called http://tribogenics.com is mentioned, developing a cheap, portable medical x-ray device — part of a trend Diamandis calls Zero-Cost Diagnostics, that will change the medical industry and give opportunities for qualified health care for most people on Earth.

    • gdaigle

      Oh-oh. Then I had better stop biting Wintergreen LifeSaver mints, which can also glow via triboluminescence. I suppose if anyone has access to digital x-ray sensors for dentistry they could quickly determine if UV or x-rays were being generated in your mouth.



      • Alan DeAngelis

        Now I’m getting carried away.

        The salicylate in wintergreen has a H-O bond.
        Could the static charges initiate the following reactions?
        H(1) + O(17) > He(4) + N(14) 1.1919 MeV

        H(1) + O(18) > He(4) + N(15) 3.9798 MeV

        H(2) + O(16) > He(4) + N(14) 3.1104 MeV

        H(2) + O(17) > He(4) + N(15) 9.8006 MeV

        H(2) + O(18) > He(4) + N(16) 3.1104 MeV [with a beta decay to O(16) with gamma rays]

        Soak the mints in heavy water and then dry them. But don’t bite them (you might get a real blast of flavor).

  • Mats002

    The stickyness may actually be a magnetic force at nano scale. If so the local energies are very high, I am sure Axil have some interesting to say about this 😉

  • Paul Smith

    Unpeeling sticky tape in a normal room produces sparks of light, as you can easily observe in the dark. I think that it only depends on static electricity.

    • Bob Greenyer

      I have noticed that and had fun with it in the past.