Scientists Developed Smaller and Lighter Radiation Shielding


 Scientists of North Carolina State University have introduced a new technique for the protection of electronics in military and space exploration technology from X-rays. The new technique is more reasonable than existing techniques, and the secret ingredient is…rust. Co-author of a paper on nuclear engineering at NC State, Rob Hayes says that their new technology can be used to maintain the same level of radiation shielding. It reduces weight by 30% or more. You could keep the same weight and improve shielding by 30% or more as compared to the most widely used shielding techniques. He says that either way, their technique reduces the volume taken up by shielding.

Designing of shielding

Weight is a significant factor in designing aircraft technologies. Shielding most commonly found in aircraft devices consists of an aluminum box around any sensitive technologies. It provides the best tradeoff between a shield’s weight and the protection it provides. This technique relies on mixing oxidized metal powder-like, rust into a polymer, and then final standard coating on the associated electronics. Rob says that metal oxide powder offers less shielding than a metal powder would. Still, oxides are less toxic and don’t pose electromagnetic challenges that could interfere with a device’s operation.

Mike DeVanzo, a graduate student at NC State, conveyed that the insertion of the metal oxide powder provides comparable shielding compared to a conventional shield, “At low energies, the metal oxide powder reduces gamma radiation to the electronics by a factor of 300 and the neutron radiation damage by 225%. Hayes says that the coating is less in weight than a shielding box. Oxide coating still coatings absorb 30% more radiation than a conventional shield of the same weight. Oxide particulates are much less expensive than the same amount of pure metal.

“This reduces the need for other conventional shielding materials on aircraft electronics,” says DeVanzo, who works at Lockheed Martin Space.

The researchers are continuing to test their shielding technique for use in various applications. Hayes says that they are now looking for industry partners to help them in developing new technology for commercial use.

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