MadSci Network: Physics

Re: What is used to shield objects from particle radiation?

Date: Mon Nov 20 11:19:58 2000
Posted By: William Lorenzen, Staff, Radiation Safety, Children's Hospital
Area of science: Physics
ID: 973203810.Ph

What fashion are objects shielded from particle radiation such as Neutrons and Alpha particles? Alpha can be stopped with several sheets of paper. Beta can be stopped with several centimeters of plexiglas or wood. Neutrons need to be slowed down with hydrogenous materials first (things that contain alot of water such as water itself) and then captured with materials that have a high cross-section for neutron absorbsion such as cadmium. What sort of decay do these shields exibit? Very little. Unless you are talking some intense dose rates (100's of R/min). Can electromagnetic fields be used to stop charged particle radiation, even if it is made up of anti-particles? No they can not. Charged particles are attracted to the opposite charge. Since electromagnetic radiation has no charge (and no mass) it has little impact. You can alter (bend/deflect) the path of beta and alpha radiation using magnetic fields however stopping them is a different story.

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