What are X-rays and why do we need X-ray Shielding

The electromagnetic spectrum covers the range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, spanning from radio waves of longest wavelength to gamma rays; the shortest wavelength. X-rays fall between gamma rays and ultra violet light, making them relatively powerful in terms of energy due to the inverse proportionality between wavelength and photon energy.

X-rays were first produced and detected by a German physicist named Wilhelm Rontgen in 1895 – leading to an entirely new field of scientific research, but with their discovery also came their repercussions.

Photons are discrete packets of energy; the fundamental particle behind electromagnetic radiation, including visible light. The defining variable in the range of the electromagnetic spectrum is how much energy each photon that composes a wave has. The photons that compose X-rays have sufficient energy to ionise atoms, being capable of breaking molecular bonds, including those that make up living tissue. These interactions between X-rays and cells are what lead to things such as radiation sickness and the increased risk of cancer by cellular mutation.

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With these risks in mind, it is incredibly important that X-rays and other ionising radiation is dealt with correctly – this includes keeping the exposure time and intensity of said radiation to as minimal as possible whilst still performing the desired task; whether it be for medical diagnosis, treating cancers or even for concealing highly radioactive isotopes.

So how exactly are we protected from radiation? Due to the penetrative power of X-rays, a lot of material is required in order for the energy of the wave to dissipate; the denser the material, the less thick the material will need to be in order to absorb the X-rays – this makes lead an ideal material to use, given its density, malleability and abundance.

Raybloc X-ray shielding products provide maximum safety by concealing the radiation to a specific area through permanent fixtures such as leaded walls, windows, floors and ceilings, but also through quality Raybloc X-ray protective door sets, Fixed Operator X-ray Screens and Mobile X-ray screens; ensuring the radiation isn’t reaching areas it should not be along with maximising the safety of both patients and staff whilst in the shielded areas.

Read more about radiation shielding products available at www.raybloc.co.uk

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