While most people today are aware of the inherent dangers of radiation, radiation is nevertheless the byproduct of many technologies that depend upon today, particularly in the medical field. We are able to utilize these radiation producing technologies however due to the benefits of radiation shielding. Radiation shielding works by reducing the power and effects of ionizing radiation and helps add protection to users of these technologies which require radiation to function. For example,radiation shielding is used by radiologists to ensure that they are not affected by the radiation that they encounter on a normal basis with their jobs.
There are a few notable characteristics which make a material a good radiation shielding material. In general, the most important characteristics are density and thickness. In both cases, the denser or thicker a material is, the better it is for radiation shielding.
Radiation shielding materials must have the ability to reduce the intensity of radiation and to increase the protection of individuals using the machines or technologies which produce radiation. Among the materials that are well known to prevent the effects of radiation from being heavily felt are: lead, steel, concrete, water, wood or lumber as well as packed soil.
Density of the material is a huge determinant as to whether the material can prevent radiation and its negative effects. As a matter of fact, all materials can act as shields, however, their efficacy varies from one material to another.Lead and tungsten are the most suitable materials for x-ray shielding due to their high densities relative to their cost. They work by absorbing the rays and preventing them from going to unwanted places. Composite materials, which are materials that are produced from a combination of two or more separate materials,are also used for radiation shielding applications, for example tungsten filled polymers. Such products can provide the shielding benefits of tungsten along with the production advantages of plastics.
Radiology rooms in hospitals for X-Ray are made in a way to ensure that they are not able to disperse these radioactive particles to the unwanted areas of the hospital and are contained. Radiation-shielding materials are used to ensure that radiation is confined only to these rooms and none of the dangerous rays escape the room. The machine used to carry out the x-ray procedure should also have internal shields in place to ensure the particles are focused on one point and not all over which could be hazardous.
What are the consequences of improper radiation shielding?
Without proper radiation shielding measures in place, these radiation producing technologies can lead to severe health risks and effects. Radiation exposure can lead to numerous health problems such as hair loss, organ failure and more.After excessive exposures the victims can experience change of DNA, cancer and mutation. These are considered the long term effects. Some of the short term effects include radiation poisoning, burns, and radiation sickness.