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Everyone has smoke detectors inside their homes and places of work—or at least they should. However, very few people understand the science and engineering that goes into a smoke detector. If you’re curious about smoke detectors, check out this video and reach out to an electrician in Annapolis.

This video offers a detailed look at how smoke detectors work. Each smoke detector has about one microcurie of a radioactive element called Americium 241. When smoke enters the detector, the alpha particles from the Americium slam into the oxygen and nitrogen atoms found in the air, charging them. The resulting ions are jolted by the 9-volt battery, creating a current that causes the alarm to sound. The smoke detectors in your home may seem simple, but they truly are engineering marvels.