Radiation is a serious safetyconcern in many work environments such as atomic power plants, facilities with commercial or medical x-ray systems, radioisotope tasks, and a variety of other working sectors. Controlling radiation and eliminating the risks it poses to worker safety and the work environment is a critical undertaking required by any workplacewithequipment that can produce dangerous levels of radiation. Radiation shielding is essential to protecting both human safety and the work environment, in addition to protecting delicate components, such as electronics or film.
The process of controlling the effects and level of transmission of radioactive rays differs according to the type of radiation. Typically, particle radiation, such as alpha particles, beta particles, neutron and cosmic radiation, is classified independently from electromagnetic radiation, such as alpha or beta particles. Different types of ionizing radiation interact in different ways with shielding material. The effectiveness of shielding depends on the stopping power of radiation particles, which varies with the type and energy of radiation as well as the shielding material being used. Different radiation shielding materials are therefore required depending on the application and the type and energy of the radiation. For example, high atomic number (i.e. higher density) materials are very effective in shielding x-ray and gamma ray sources, however, they are ineffective or even worse, counter-effective, when attempting to shield neutrons or beta particles. In contrast, particle radiation sources are much better shielded by lower atomic number materials.
There are different materials that can be used as effective radiation shielding materials depending on the radiation source. Radiation protecting is the ability to reduce a wave’s or ray’s impact by avoiding or colliding contaminants through the shieldingmaterial. Charged contaminants may be attenuated by losing power to responses with electrons in the shield, while x-ray and gamma radiation are attenuated through photoemission. Neutrons can be made less harmful through a mixture of flexible and inelastic spreading, and most neutron shields are designed as such. The main kinds of radiation experienced in commercial tasks include:
• PhotonRadiation (Gamma and X-rays): Photon radiation is considered gamma rays if produced by a nuclear reaction, subatomic particle decay, or radioactive decay within the nucleus. If the radiation is produced outside the nucleus, it is known as x-ray radiation.
• Neutron Shielding: Neutrons are contaminants that have neither a positive nor a negative charge, and cannot directly cause ionization. However, fast neutrons will interact with the protons and produce and scatter radioactive nuclei of the materials.
There are several factors that impact the selection and use of radioactive protecting components. Concerns such as attenuation performance, strength, processability, heat qualities, and cost can determine the optimal shielding material for a particular application. Lead has been the predominant radiation shielding material of choice to date due to its high atomic number and shielding efficacy, its low cost and easy processability. However, with increasing regulatory pressure against the processing, sale and use of lead products due to its toxicity, industries are forced to look elsewhere for radiation shielding solutions.
For many part makers, lead free thermoplastics have become a modern material solution for lead free radiation shielding. Ecomass Technologies is the technological leader in lead free shielding materials, providing thermoplastic shielding solutions to the medical, industrial and nuclear industries for 15+ years. Injection moldable, these materials can be molded into complex shapes and completely eliminate any regulatory concerns as they are 100% lead free and do not contain any toxic constituents. Moreover, custom compounded to the exact density and formulation required by the customer’s application, Ecomass delivers material solutions tailored to the customers’ exact needs, optimizing the balance between cost and performance. Our goal is to relentlessly pursue innovative methods and materials for radiation shielding purposes and to be recognized as the leader in lead free radiation shielding technology.