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  • Diagram showing how smoke detectors operate.
    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato Published 17 September 2009 Size: 19 KB Referencing Hub media

    Alpha particles emitted by the americium-241 ionise the air molecules in the chamber. The electrical circuit establishes a current. Smoke particles interfere with the current, and the circuit is designed to set off an alarm when this happens.

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