Exposure to radiation is highly dangerous, causing numerous negative side effects. For those working in or patronizing the medical, veterinary, nuclear, or defense industries, the risks are serious. Exposure to radiation can cause injury to the eyes and skin, tissue damage, and increased risk of cancer.
Luckily, radiation can be blocked from interacting with the body. Wearing the correct gear, like lead aprons from Barrier Technologies, ensures individuals are protected from the harmful effects of radiation exposure.
What Are Radiation Shielding Materials?
Radiation shielding materials are various mixtures of elements that block scatter radiation. The most traditionally used element is lead (Pb). In addition to lead, other elements, such as tungsten, and titanium, have begun being used to create wearable equipment that protects against scatter radiation.
Since scatter radiation waves are very strong, the protection against them must also be dependable, have longevity, and be versatile. Some of the most common equipment radiation shielding materials are used to create are aprons, thyroid collars, and eyewear. This equipment is absolutely essential, and cannot be forgone when using or working with radiative tools.
3 Types of Radiation Shielding Materials
There are three different major types of radiation shielding materials. These are the main combinations that can be found in protective equipment. Each has its own unique set of benefits, so there is always a choice available for every organization’s individual needs.
Lead (Pb) Standard
Traditional lead shielding, also known as Pb standard, has a configuration of over 90% lead. It is still widely available in protective shielding equipment. It reliably blocks scatter radiation from entering the body.
The major drawback of traditional lead shielding is its weight. As an element, lead is extremely heavy. The subsequent weight of protective equipment made from a substantial majority lead is significant. The effects upon the wearer’s body are not small either. Regularly wearing such heavy equipment causes serious musculoskeletal defects. It can cause the neck, back, shoulders, etc. to ache and affect posture.
Lead (Pb) Light
Pb light is a composite mixture of lead and other elements. These elements could include Lead and Antimony. Using a combination of lead and lead-free elements means the end product has a much lighter weight.
Another benefit is the cost. While it may not be as cheap as traditional lead shielding equipment, Pb light is a middle-ground choice in terms of cost.
The third type of radiation shielding material is lead-free. As the name suggests, this type contains no lead; it is instead created from a mixture of different alloys (as listed above): Tungsten, Magnesium, Titanium, and Bismuth
Pb-free is the best choice for the user’s overall long-term health. It blocks scatter radiation while being lighter in weight. A lighter weight eliminates problems created by traditionally majority-lead gear.
How Do Shielding Products Work With Radiation?
Gamma rays, x-rays, neuron, alpha, or beta radiation are all forms of scatter radiation and all forms of scatter radiation cause harm. Protective gear that fully protects against scatter radiation does so by utilizing elements with high atomic densities.
Lead and the other elements possess high atomic densities, making them the perfect defense against radiation. The waves of radiation are unable to penetrate past the tightly packed atoms of the elements used in protective gear like lead aprons. Instead, they are redirected away from the body of the person wearing the apron, collar, or eyewear.
Which Material Is The Best To Use?
Pb standard, Pb light, and Pb free all have unique advantages. However, the Pb free is undeniably the best for overall and long-term usage. The lighter weight of Pb-free equipment has a vastly positive impact on the user’s posture, muscles, and skeleton. It is worth investing in equipment that will protect all aspects of their user’s health.
Additionally, Barrier Technologies offers a unique, more flexible material. It can stretch and is resistant to cracking, unlike other brittle materials on the market. Barrier Technologies extrudes the material at room temperature, making it more elastic. Cracked aprons or collars will fail to fully protect the user.
Barrier Technologies: Innovative Radiation Blocking Equipment
Barrier Technologies are experts in the field of protective equipment. With years of experience working with various industries, including medical, dental, defense, and nuclear, we understand the complexities of everyday equipment use.
We are always striving to produce better quality equipment. This has resulted in UltraFlex, a stain-resistant, lightweight apron with the option to have magnetic closures, keeping gear cleaner.
If you have any questions about radiation protection, please reach out to our team today!