Researchers from the Ural Federal University, together with their colleagues in Malaysia, proposed an alternative to lead – the polymer composite they synthesized provides protection against X-rays and gamma radiation. The scientists’ work was published in the journal Radiation Physics and Chemistry.

Lead is the most common shielding material for radioactive gamma radiation. But in itself it is toxic, which is dangerous for both the environment and the body – with its high content in the body, the functioning of the nervous system and brain is disturbed, which can lead to death.

Scientists from the Ural Federal University and the Malaya University of Technology have synthesized a new sample of protective material, which is an epoxy resin composite filled with zinc oxide nanoparticles. Oleg Tashlykov, one of the researchers, professor in UrFU’s Department of Nuclear Power Plants and Renewable Energy Resources, explains that pure polymers weakly attenuate radiation, but their shielding abilities can be enhanced by adding elements with higher atomic numbers.

The chemist admits that lead shields are better than the new composite, but says this can easily be compensated for by increasing the thickness of the structure. In addition, the new composite is completely environmentally friendly both in production and in use.

The new material, which its creators believe, will be in demand – it is resistant to heat and chemical attack and can acquire the necessary strength and rigidity. This is particularly useful for protecting hard-to-reach areas of complex shape. In addition, epoxy resin is inexpensive and easy to manufacture.

Source: Ferra

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