When it comes to radiation shielding, lead has been the ideal choice for decades now. Lead shielding happens to be cheap; it is easy to process and provides lead radiation shielding that everyone can rely on. However, in recent years, there has been a growing concern in the healthcare industry regarding the mining, processing, handling, and disposal of lead. As a result of this, lead shielding for radiation has been banned for use in various applications. This includes:
- Water pipes
- Motor fuels
If this trend continues, it is likely that many industries will ban the use of lead as well.
The rays generated from x-rays and other sources of radiation are incredibly detrimental to human health. As such, scientists are working diligently globally to conjure up alternate shielding materials that offer us similar protection against radiation.
Let’s take a look at the most commonly used shielding materials in the industry.
Conventional Lead Shielding for Radiation
There are many reasons why lead is an ideal candidate to offer protection against radiation. Lead is:
- Resistant to corrosion
When lead is in its purest form, it is brittle and cannot be used for clothing in an x-ray room. However, when lead is mixed with binders such as vinyl, it becomes rather durable and flexible for use.
People turn to lead shielding due to its cost, mass, and ability to shield against radiation. But it is these very benefits that are now raising concerns regarding its environmental and health impact. The traditional lead-based materials are toxic and prove to be difficult to dispose of. This makes the hunt for alternative materials all the more important.
Lead Composite Shielding
This kind of shielding involves mixing lighter materials with lead to obtain similar levels of protection. These blends are a mix of lead and other heavy metals that reduce the impact of radiation rays. This shielding is much lighter than regular lead shielding but offers similar protection levels.
Composite materials that are nontoxic and are polymer metals happen to be a cost-effective and incredible material that reduces all the hazard concerns surrounding lead materials. As it is available at cheaper rates when it is compared to other alternatives, it happens to be a great fit for radiation shielding.
The same techniques used in composite engineering apply to lead composite shielding. However, there is no lead used. The molding of composite materials has given researchers a chance to work on creating materials that offer similar protections against radiation. Here are a few advantages of using these:
- They are available in many densities
- They are available in many strengths
- They are flexible
- They heat-deflect temperatures
- They are eco-friendly.
Which Material is Best for Radiation Shielding?
There are very many differences in materials used for radiation shielding, but most of them are pretty common to each other. The three kinds of shielding methods have their own advantages. With the help of this guide, you will be able to decide the best form of radiation shield based on your unique needs.
Give us a call or reach out to us through our website at Canada Metal to find out more about radiation shielding materials.