How to Choose the Right Radiation Shielding Products
Choosing the right radiation shielding products for your facility is critical for safe operations that meet all necessary local, state, and federal guidelines. Use these considerations to guide your decision as you navigate your options for effective and dependable radiation protection.
What is Radiation Shielding?
Radiation shielding refers to the use of certain materials to block or absorb harmful radiation to protect people, workspaces, or sensitive equipment. It is essential to various industrial applications, including medical imaging, nuclear medicine, non-destructive testing, and much more. Radiation protection systems ionize radiation to minimize exposure to individuals and machinery required to be in the impacted area.
Which Material is Best for Radiation Protection?
Several materials are available to meet the diverse needs of various radiation shielding operations, but selecting the best option for your exact purpose is important. Density, thickness, atomic number, and other factors will all impact which material suits your facility. Typical options include:
- Certain polymers or composites
- And other materials specific to your requirements
Always consult with a radiation shielding expert or licensed radiation health physicist before beginning any project, as different applications will require unique radiation shielding. For example, while lead is cost-effective and durable, it will not provide adequate coverage for applications involving alpha or beta radiation. However, lead radiation shielding is well-suited to any job utilizing x-rays or gamma rays.
Alpha Radiation & Beta Radiation Protection
Material density is a top concern when shielding against alpha and beta radiation. While these two types of particles share some traits, a few key differences exist:
- Alpha radiation is one of the least harmful types of radiation. Comprised of extremely weak particles, airborne alpha radiation cannot travel more than a few centimeters. Due to this lower risk, most alpha radiation does not require radiation shielding.
- Beta radiation has a higher risk level. Beta particles travel quickly due to their small mass, and beta radiation requires more protection than alpha radiation. Heavy clothing is generally recommended to protect workers from burns, and thick pieces of wood, aluminum, or plastic will perform well for radiation shielding.
X-Ray Radiation & Gamma Radiation Protection
X-rays and gamma rays are two of the most common types of industrial radiation, and lead is the best option for protecting against them. Cost-effective, malleable, and corrosion-resistant, pure lead is a highly stable material with design flexibility, a high atomic number, and easy availability. It is also completely recyclable and can be re-melted for reuse, making it the most environmentally friendly radiation shielding option.
Unlike other types of radiation, neutrons do not have a valence. Neutron radiation possesses a high amount of kinetic energy, allowing it to penetrate particularly dense materials. As unwanted or unanticipated exposure can be dangerous to people, shielding solutions with low atomic numbers are required. Many systems include borated polyethylene components paired with lead bricks, lead plate, or other radiation shielding products.
Radiation Shielding Should Be Designed & Tailored to Your Needs
When it comes to comprehensive radiation protection, your shielding system should be custom-built to fit your exact requirements. Many leaded and shielded products are available, and your best solution could incorporate:
- Radiation shielded lead walls
- Radiation shielded lead doors
- Radiation shielded lead windows
- Industrial lead products
- Neutron shielding doors
- Or other construction products with radiation shielding
The best way to choose the right radiation protection products for your facility is to work with an experienced team of radiation experts, like Radiation Protection Products. RPP has been engineering and manufacturing complete radiation shielding solutions since 1952. We work closely with you to understand the rigors and demands of your facility before providing turnkey solutions custom-manufactured to your specifications. From new builds to additions, renovations to updates, RPP is ready to handle your project.