A Guide to Radiation Shielding

  • Author: Canada Metal
  • Date: December 29, 2020

There are some jobs that are riskier than others. This may include an increased chance for a person to get injured or exposure to harmful chemicals and substances. In some cases, this may include a person being exposed to radiation, which means they will require radiation shielding.

radiation shielding

What Is Radiation?

Radiation is found all throughout the universe. It comes in the form of electromagnetic waves (including x-rays and gamma rays) and as particle emulsions (alpha or beta particles that come from a substance that is radioactive or the neutrons inside a nuclear reactor).

Every part of the universe is exposed to radiation, but not all of it is harmful. It can be weakened so that it won’t cause damage. Earth’s atmosphere acts as radiation shielding to protect life on the planet from being exposed to this harmful element.

Radiation on Earth

While radiation is abundant in the universe, it also exists on Earth. It can often be found at nuclear power plants during the nuclear fission process, as well as in doctor’s offices and hospitals in the form of x-rays.

For people who have x-rays incredibly rarely throughout their lives, exposure to the radiation won’t be damaging. It could become problematic if a woman is pregnant and has an x-ray, and it’s dangerous to technicians who are working with x-rays every day and have to conduct multiple x-rays on various patients. However, there are ways to protect unborn children and technicians, and this is often accomplished by lead radiation shielding.

Lead Radiation Shielding

When it comes to radiation shielding, it is often classified into two categories: biological and thermal. Biological shielding is used to reduce the radiation to levels that are safe for animals or humans. Thermal shielding dissipates the heat that can be caused by a high absorption of radiation energy.

When it comes to finding a material that works well for a shield, a lot of different things can be used. All it really needs is to be thick enough to attenuate radiation to levels that are safe for humans and animals. However, concrete and lead are two of the most commonly used materials to create shields.

Lead is a great element to be a shield because it is incredibly dense, it has a high atomic number, it is stable, it is incredibly flexible, it is easy to work with, and it is readily available. In addition, it can be made into lighter weight vests and other materials, which makes it easier to use on humans, particularly when getting x-rays, than concrete would. Like lead, concrete is readily available and incredibly dense, but it’s also heavy and cumbersome.

Lead shielding for radiation comes in a variety of different forms, including sheets, slabs, and plates; bricks; wool; sleeves; tubing; pipes; and glass, among others. They are all incredibly helpful and effective in reducing the harmful effects of radiation and keeping people protected.


The applications of lead radiation shielding can be applied to the healthcare field and keeping technicians and pregnant women from being exposed to harmful and excessive amounts of radiation. It can also be used on ships and satellites that are sent into space to protect equipment and people from radiation.

Special clothing and building materials can also be developed to create labs that are safe from radiation and to protect the scientists from exposure. Because lead is incredibly versatile, lighter weight, and flexible, it makes a great shield against radiation.

To find out more about lead shielding for radiation, contact the metal pros at Canada Metal.

Also Read: Why Is Interlocking Lead Bricks One of The Best Materials for Radiation Protection?

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