ArticlePDF Available
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.
Introduction
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.
225
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
Materials
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.
Methods
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
226
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.
Results
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
) 3.4 3.4 3.4
Anti-bending Strength
(kgf)
381 545 733
227
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
Cs
-
137
-
60
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
BSB
-
005
(Pb)
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.
Acknowledgements
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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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.