Lead has long been considered the most effective element to protect individuals from the harmful effects ofradiation. Hence, lead is used extensively for X-Ray shielding to attenuate excessive doses of radiation. In X -Ray chambers, the walls often contain lead sheets. Radiologists view the patient through a leaded glass screen if they are not in the same room;otherwise, they commonly wear lead aprons, if they intend to remain in the same room.
Radiation protection is classified into three categories: occupational radiation protection (protection of workers); medical radiation protection (protection of patients); and public radiation protection (protection of individual members and public as a whole).Many government regulatory bodieshave been formed with the purpose of limiting the average citizen’sexposure to radiation and ensuring a secure radiation environment.
Radiation shielding is a means to control the amount and dose of radiation received by introducing a material that helps to block transmittal of the harmful radiation waves. However,different types of ionizing radiation interact with shielding materials in different ways. In other words, to properly shield a radiation source, one must first understand what type of radiation they are shielding and how that radiation interacts with and is affected by various radiation shielding materials.
X-Ray shielding is best achieved by utilizing materialsthat contain atoms with heavy nuclei; in other words, the denser the material the better. The advantage of high density materials is due to the fact that a material’s absorption power is directly proportional to the weight of the nucleus. Lead is the most commonly used metal for this purpose, because of its high density and high atomic number, and because it is fairly cheap.
Of late, there have been increasingly strict regulatory policies regarding the use and sale of lead products. These policies have come as a result of the rising health concern over the use of lead as more and more studies have come out detailing the toxicity of lead and the serious health risks that exposure to this mineral poses.
Ecomass technologies have helped industriesend these concerns by inventing eco-friendly thermoplastic compounds that provide shielding 100% equivalent to lead, and which can be molded into complex shapes to meet any design. Moreover, these radiation shielding compounds do not contain any toxic constituents. Similar to the entire Ecomass product line, their composite materials for x-ray shielding are RoHS compliant, do not contain any lead compounds, lead, or any material deemed toxic by the EPA.
Ecomass thermoplastic compounds have the following advantages, in comparison to lead:
• They are non-toxic
• They are injection mouldable
• They have variable specific gravity
• They can be custom formulated for specific applications
• They have superior physical properties
• They help in reduction of secondary machining and post-production costs
• They are not subject to the rigorous standards for use and disposal that lead is
These compounds have numerous lead replacement applications beyond just X-Ray shielding, some of which include:
• Replacement for lead wool and lead paste(used for repairing of radiation shields)
• Nuclear Medicine
• X-Ray tube housings
• Shipping Containers
• Ballast Systems
• Vibration Dampening applications where a non-toxic, high-density, high strength material is required
Vibration Dampening is another popular use of Ecomass compounds as a lead replacement solution. Vibration dampening (or vibration damping) is a process of reducing mechanical energy out of a system to minimize or eliminate vibrations. Sound proofing is also a type of vibration dampening wherein the sound energy is dissipated from the oscillatory system. Other examples include mechanical systems which experience resistance in electronic oscillators, viscous drag and scattering and absorption of light.
Ecomass Compounds have successfully replaced lead in various industrial applications delivering eco-friendly solutions to manufacturers without impacting performance.