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2017 3rd International Conference on Green Materials and Environmental Engineering (GMEE 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-60595-500-1
Investigating of Barite Shielding Boards for Radiation Protection
Tzong-Jer CHEN*
School of Information Engineering, Baise University, Baise, Guangxi, 533000 China
*Corresponding author
Keywords: Barite, Heavyweight concrete, Photon attenuation, XCOM.
Abstract. Radiology has seen enormous growth with the latest medical equipment and increase in
radiation technology usage. Lead is also used to shield against radiation leakage to diminish harmful
effects of radiation dosimetry to human bodies. To save harmful, cost, effective shielding and provide
easy installation, a pre-cast board with fiber concrete layers and heavyweight concrete with Barite is
developed. The radiation attenuation coefficients for Barite concrete board are calculated and
measured in this report. This board can instead of lead for the photon energy around the diagnostic
medical areas. The board has been successfully employed in medical hospitals and makes shielding
easy and effective.
The significant advantage of radiation technology in the medical field has led to rapid expansion in
its employment. The advances in the use of radiation in medicine include both diagnostic and
therapeutic areas. Iodine-131, for example, is used as a diagnostic tracer and had been developed for
use as therapeutic medicine [1]. Radiology, in particular, has seen enormous developments with the
latest medical equipment and practices being commonplace in this region [2].
Because of the potential danger to human body, radiation use in medicine must be carefully
considered and proper shielding should be used [3].To provide effect protection from radiation the
building should be constructed using a material with higher mass attenuation coefficients (µ).
However, some well-known heavyweight materials, such as tungsten or lead, cannot be used directly
in building construction. The main material in building construction is still concrete.
Since technology progress expands Radiology usage and National Health Insurance, Taiwan,
enlarges on offering from time to time. Hospitals need to re-enhance the radiation shielding of rooms
as usage changes to radiation practices. In addition, the shielding of radiotherapy is only considered
priori to the hospital construction in Taiwan. The shielding for those non-therapeutic radiology will
be arranged after building construction, in general. Since then, medical hospital will decorate or
enhance the shielding according to practices of spaces.
Concrete is the main material for building construction. The lead sheet is frequently used in
medical hospitals for decoration or enhancing the shielding of rooms. Although, the price of lead went
steady recently. However, the current cost of lead is two times to the year of 2005. In 2008, the cost of
lead even up to three times to 2016[4].
Recently, heavy-weight materials such as Barite (BaSO4) have been added into concrete as
aggregates for shielding more effectively [5]. This material does not have rich earth reserves and must
be used judiciously in building construction. Barite is one of the most effective materials used as an
aggregate in heavy-weight concrete production. Previous studies were performed on the calculation
and measurement of linear attenuation coefficients µ (cm-1) for concrete with Barite. Theoretical
calculations of the total mass attenuation coefficients were performed using the XCOM program
[5].The XCOM (Version 3.1) is a program developed by Berger and Hubble [6] to calculate the mass
attenuation coefficients for elements, compounds or mixtures at energies from 10-3 to 105 MeV.
Their works make attenuation coefficient calculation more accessible.
Esen and Yilmazer measured the energy absorption capability of different amounts of Barite
aggregate with concrete [7]. Akkurt et al. tested the shielding properties of concrete including Barite
using Cs-137 and Co-60, individually [8]. They measured and calculated radiation shielding abilities
for concretes containing various amounts of Barite in their earlier paper too [9, 10].Barite has been
suggested as concrete aggregate to more effectively shield against radiation.
Barite is a good radiation shielding material and it is one of many construction product aggregates
in heavyweight concrete. There are other materials, i.e. cement and water, in construction products.
The properties of heavyweight concrete produced with Barite depend on the content, grain size and
w/c ratio. It is well known that the attenuation coefficient subject to the material density. Material
density is depends on the aggregate content [9]. The higher the contents of Barite result in the higher
attenuation coefficients [10].However, a lack of strength risk may exist when the Barite heavyweight
concrete was used for building construction.
Topcu examined the different w/c ratios of heavyweight concrete produced with Barite [11]. He
found that the compressive strength decreased when the w/c ratio increased. This paper suggests that
the mixing duration should be as short as possible and finer aggregate should be using to prevent
segregation in heavyweight concretes.11The homogeneity of Barite in heavy concrete may be a point
of concern. The w/c ratio and strength should be carefully considered[11].
Can we develop anew radiation protection board using Barite as aggregates? The new board model
may be used to replace lead in radiation protection if the strength and shielding ability are good
enough. The advantages of board will be convenience in shielding, cost save, toxic free, not parts of
building structure, easy for decoration. The Barite Shielding Board (BSB) was developed and
properties were investigated in this report. The BSB been proved that it can be used to replace lead
sheet. The BSB may employ in medical hospitals and radiation facilities.
Materials and Methods
The BSB has a sandwich construction, with an internal layer for radiation protection and with two
outside cover layers, as shown in Figure 1. The fiber concrete is used as cover layers for fixed shape
and interior protected. This pre-cast board is constructed in modules to make installation easy. Mixed
concrete and water and with Barite as the aggregate are in the middle layer for radiation shielding.
The fiber concrete board density is 1.34 kg/m3 (ρ) and 0.5 cm in thickness. The cement
concentration in fiber concrete is around 35% in density. Three types of BSB-002, 003 and 005 were
developed, as noted in Table 1. The BSB-002, 003, 005 protection layer thicknesses are 15, 25, 37
mm, individually. The different dimensions and models are used for practices of radiation shielding.
For the additive Barite, the concentration of pure BaSO4is about 90%~91.2% and density is
4.2g/cm3. The BSB protection layer is mixed using 80% (<3mm)and 20% of fine(<75µm)Barite, for
the easy homogeneity. Portland cement is used with a w/c ratio of0.36.
The theoretical calculation for the total BSB mass attenuation coefficients is performed using the
XCOM code and data based at photon energies from 1 kV to 100 GeV. This program runs on a PC and
uses the material chemical structures as the input. For concrete, Portland cement typical constituents
are used and for Barite,92% BaSO4with 6 % water were used with the impurities ignored.
The attenuation properties of three BSBs were determined using TÜV NORD Sys Tec GmbH &
Co. KG, German (Energy and Systems Technology). BSBs were irradiated with X-rays from an X-ray
tube (Type MXR 920/26/Y) with 100 kV, 150 kV, 200 kV, 250 kV, and 300 kV voltages,
respectively, and with gamma-rays from a Cs-137 and a Co-60 source. The ambient dose equivalent
H*(10) was measured behind the boards as well as without the boards in a suited geometry. With
these results, the F=H*(10)with board/H*(10)without board attenuation factor was determined. The
irradiations were also performed with lead boards of different thicknesses. The attenuation factor F
for the BSBs and lead boards were compared to determine the equivalent lead thickness for each BSB.
Figure 1. A crosssection view of BSB. Figure 2. The calculated µ(cm-1) for BSB and
comparison with the measurements.
Theequivalentlead thicknessesfor BSBsin mm Pb for the irradiation with various X-ray energies and
gamma-rays are shown in Table 2. Forthe most diagnostic X-ray energy areas (around 100 kV),
BSB-002 can replace 2 mm Pb, lead equivalent thickness of 003 is better than 3 mm Pb, 005 is
equivalent to 5mm Pb, as noted in Table 2. In addition, it is obvious that the lead equivalent thickness
of BSB-002, 003, 005 are superior to 2, 3, 5 mm Pb, individually, in the energy areas of Cs-137 and
Co-60 gamma-ray.
The calculated µ(cm-1)results were also compared with the measurements obtained at the various
X-ray and gamma-ray energies, as shown in Figure 2. A reasonable consistence was found between
the measurements and calculations. The µ measurements are in good agreementamong the different
BSB thicknesses.
Discussions and Conclusions
Lead, iron and heavy concrete are the traditional majority adapted materials for radiation shielding.
However, the costs of iron and lead, toxicity of lead and non-homogeneity or strength concerns with
heavy concrete constructions are factors in their usage. BSBs are obviously superior to these materials
in radiation shielding.
BSB saves up to 70% of the cost in comparison with traditional Pb shields. Pre-cast board with
fiber concrete layers for cover furnish constructed in modules make installation easy. BSB can be
fixed onto C-runners using self-tapping screws and may be painted in colors or variable decoration
materials can be pasted onto the surface. Figure 3 shows a BSB installation in a Taiwan hospital. The
worker sets up the C-runner first in Figure 3(a), then installs and fixes BSB in Figure 3 (b). The BSB
is used for a compartment or put onto the wall so the strength consideration is not important.
The Barite mixed in the BSB attenuates photon radiation effectively. However, the radiation
therapy and cyclotron facility may produce neutrons. For neutron shielding, the Colemanite and
Ulexite, for example, plan to mix with borate BSB. The borate BSB may be able to attenuate both
photons and neutrons.
Table 1. Physical properties of BSB.
Model No. BSB-002 BSB-003 BSB-005
Size (cm) W61×H220 W61×H220 W61×H220
Thickness (mm) 15 25 37
Density (kg/m
) 3.4 3.4 3.4
Anti-bending Strength
381 545 733
Table 2. Equivalent lead thickness of the BSBs in mm Pb for the irradiation with different X-ray energies and gamma-rays
from Cs-137 and Co-60.
Voltage/ Source
100 kV
150 kV
200 kV
250 kV
300 kV
BSB-002(Pb) 2.5 mm 1.3 mm <1 mm <1 mm 1.0 mm 2.5 mm 3.9 mm
BSB-003(Pb) 4 mm 2.0 mm 1.7 mm 1.7 mm 1.8 mm 4.0 mm 6.2 mm
5 mm
2.7 mm
2.2 mm
2.4 mm
2.5 mm
5.8 mm
8.6 mm
Figure 3. (a) set-up C-runner, (b)installedand fixed BSB.
The authors acknowledge Becqurel & Sievert Co., Ltd. (Taiwan) for providing test results and
properties of BSBs.This work was supported in part by a research grant from Baise University:
Scientific Research Booting Grants for Doctors, Baise University, Baise, Guangxi, China.
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... Radiology has seen enormous growth with the evolution in medical equipment and increasing radiation usage. Radiation is widely used in medical applications but radiation technology presents potential danger to the human body [1,2]. To effectively protect the general public and radiation physicists from radiation the building and interior partitions should be constructed using a material with higher mass attenuation coefficients (µ/ρ) [3]. ...
... BSB has a sandwich construction; with the internal layer a plate of Barite combined with concrete for shielding and two outside cover layers made of concrete fiber board as the holder. This report calculated and measured BSB shielding properties and found that BSB may be used to replace lead sheet [1]. The thicker internal layer effectively increases shielding but it requires cover layers. ...
... The XFBSB is made with Barite powder, xylem fiber and Portland cement, a commercial product. The manufacturing process is the same as that for calcium silicate board [1]. This board is manufactured to be durable, tough, and fire and moisture resistant. ...
Full-text available
Radiation is used in a variety of medical and scientific fields but poses potential danger to the human body. Hospital medical x-ray technicians traditionally use lead shielding materials to absorb radiation. However, lead has environmental disadvantages, with high toxicity to humans. Barite, a heavy-weight material, is added into concrete and bonded with xylem fiber, forming a shielding board as a replacement for lead. The xylem fiber barite shielding board (XFBSB) development and shielding properties are investigated in this report. XFBSB is designed for diagnostic medical x-ray shielding. It may be applied as shielding in walls and ceilings, doors and movable wall partitions. The physical properties of XFBSB are 14 mm in thickness with density ⩾ 2.0 g/cm3. This board was irradiated using a standard x-ray tube (Type MXR 320/Comet Y. TU 320 G03, TÜV NORD Sys Tec GmbH & Co. KG, German) with 70 kV, 100 kV and 150 kV Voltages respectively. The current of this standard x-ray tube is 22.5 mA, respectively. From the measured ambient dose equivalent H*(10), the attenuation factor F=H*(10) with board/H*(10) without board was calculated. For comparison, lead boards of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 mm thicknesses were irradiated under equal conditions with the attenuation factors F fitted for the different lead board thicknesses. The boards are proven to ⩾ 1mm lead equivalent in all irradiation energies. The XFBSB can substitute for lead shielding for photon energies around diagnostic medical areas. This board provides adequate shielding, is non-toxic, fire proof, easily installed and low cost.
... Radiology has seen enormous growth with the evolution in medical equipment and increasing radiation usage. Radiation is widely used in medical applications but radiation technology presents potential danger to the human body [1,2]. To effectively protect the general public and radiation physicists from radiation the building and interior partitions should be constructed using a material with higher mass attenuation coefficients (µ/ρ) [3]. ...
... Previous studies were performed on the calculation and measurement of linear attenuation coefficients µ (cm -1 ) for concrete with Barite [6]. Theoretical calculations of the total mass attenuation coefficients were performed using the XCOM program [1,6,7]. XCOM makes attenuation coefficient calculation more accessable. ...
... Chen recently suggested a pre-cast Barite board, named BSB [1]. BSB has a sandwich construction; with the internal layer a plate of Barite combined with concrete for shielding and two outside cover layers made of concrete fibre board as the holder. ...
... In order to determine the weight loss of tested samples, the mass of the specimen was measured before and after heating. It is suggested that by employing magnetite aggregate, the negative impact of high temperatures on the properties of concretes can be reduced [10]. ...
Full-text available
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Red mud is a solid hazardous alumina industrial waste, which is rich in iron, titanium, aluminum, silicon, calcium, etc. The red mud contains 30-60% of hematite, which is suitable for shielding high energy X- and gamma rays. So, the iron rich red mud was converted into diagnostic X-ray shielding tiles through ceramic route by adding a certain weight percentage of BaSO4 and binders (kaolin clay or sodium hexametaphosphate) with it. The kaolin clay tile possess sufficient impact strength (failure point is 852 mm for 19 mm steel ball) and flexural strength of ~25 N/mm², which is suitable for wall applications. The 10.3 mm and 14.7 mm thick red mud:BaSO4:kaolin clay tile possess the attenuation equivalent to 2 mm and 2.3 mm lead at 125 kVp and 140 kVp, respectively. No heavy elements were found to leach out except chromium and arsenic from the sintered tiles. However, the leaching of Cr (0.6) and As (0.015) was found to be well below the permissible limit. These tiles can be used in the X-ray diagnosis, CT scanner, bone densitometry, and cath labs instead of toxic lead sheet and thereby to protect the operating personals, public, and environment from radiation hazards.
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Full-text available
. This study investigated the X-ray and radioisotope energy absorption capacity of heavyweight concrete containing barite aggregate. Concrete plates were prepared using differing amounts of barite aggregate instead of normal aggregate. Density–thickness–energy variations of these concretes for 85 keV, 118 keV, 164 keV, 662 keV and 1250 keV ray energies were recorded. It was observed that the concretes with greater barite content had a higher density and energy absorption capacity.
Full-text available
Rapid technological developments in medicine have taken place in the Asia-Pacific region over the last decades. Radiology, in particular, has seen enormous growth with the latest medical equipment and practices being commonplace in this region. The use of radiation in medicine must be carefully considered with regard to the potential side effects, such as radiation-induced cancer. There are very limited published papers on the use of radiation in medicine in this region. Hence, in this paper, we present an overview of the use of radiation in medicine in the Asia-Pacific region.
Full-text available
In many medical applications involving the administration of iodine-131 ((131)I) in the form of iodide (I(-)), most of the dose is delivered to the thyroid gland. To reliably estimate the thyroid absorbed dose, the following data are required: the thyroid gland size (i.e. mass), the fractional uptake of (131)I by the thyroid, the spatial distribution of (131)I within the thyroid, and the length of time (131)I is retained in the thyroid before it is released back to blood, distributed in other organs and tissues, and excreted from the body. Estimation of absorbed dose to nonthyroid tissues likewise requires knowledge of the time course of activity in each organ. Such data are rarely available, however, and therefore dose calculations are generally based on reference models. The MIRD and ICRP have published metabolic models and have calculated absorbed doses per unit intake for many nuclides and radioactive pharmaceuticals. Given the activity taken into the body, one can use such models and make reasonable calculations for average organ doses. When normal retention and excretion pathways are altered, the baseline models need to be modified, and the resulting organ dose estimates are subject to larger errors. This paper describes the historical evolution of radioactive isotopes in medical diagnosis and therapy. We nonmathematically summarize the methods used in current practice to estimate absorbed dose and summarize some of the risk data that have emerged from medical studies of patients with special attention to dose and effects observed in those who received (131)I-iodide in diagnosis and/or therapy.
Radiation shielding properties of barite and concrete produced with barite have been investigated. The results have been compared with the standard shielding material of lead. The linear attenuation coefficients have been calculated 1 keV–1 GeV and compared with the measurement performed using gamma spectrometer contains NaI(Tl) detector and MCA at 662, 1173 and 1332 keV.
The linear attenuation coefficients and total mass attenuation coefficients of gamma rays for barite, marble, and limra were calculated. The results show that attenuation begins to increase in the high energy region. Increasing the photon attenuation coefficients, while increasing the photon energy, results in successive collisions due to Compton scattering. The calculations also show that the linear attenuation coefficients increase with increasing materials' density, and the mass attenuation coefficients remain constant. The relation between photon attenuation coefficients, materials' density, and radiation shielding is elucidated.
The concretes produced with barite (BaSO4) were studied as shieldingmaterials for γ-radiation. The concretes were prepared with different volumes of barite, and thus each concrete has different density and aggregate. The mass attenuation coefficients have been calculated at photon energies of 1 keV to 100 GeV using XCOM and the obtained results were compared with the measurements at 0.66 and 1.25 MeV. The barite concrete results were also compared with ordinary concretes.
The shielding of gamma-rays by concrete has been investigated for concretes containing different amounts of barite and normal weight aggregates. The linear attenuation coefficients (mu, cm(-1)) have been calculated at photon energies of 1 keV to 100 GeV using XCOM and the obtained results compared with the measurements at the photon energies of 0.66 MeV and 1.33 MeV. It is shown that the type of the aggregate is more important than the amount of aggregate used in concrete for gamma-ray shielding.
Heavyweight concrete has been used for the prevention of seepage from radioactive structures due to the harmful effect of radioactive rays to living bodies (i.e., carcinogenic, etc.). The most important point about heavyweight concrete is the determination of w/c ratio. Selected cement dosage should be both high enough to allow for radioactive impermeability and low enough to prevent splits originating from shrinkage. In this study, heavyweight concrete mixtures at different w/c ratios were prepared in order to determine the most favorable w/c ratio of heavyweight concrete produced with barite. Physical and mechanical experiments were first carried out, and then by comparison with the results of other related studies the findings of this study were obtained. At the end of the study, it was found that the most favorable w/c ratio for heavyweight concrete is 0.40 and the cement dosage should not be lower than 350 kg/m3.
NBSIR 87-3597: Photon crosssection on a personal computer
  • M J Berger
  • J H Hubbel
M.J. Berger and J.H. Hubbel, NBSIR 87-3597: Photon crosssection on a personal computer. National Institute of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD 20899 USA, 1987.