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Alpha Radiation Shielding

  1. May 7, 2008 #1
    Hi all!

    I have the following question to solve and it's getting me down.

    Suppose we have an alpha source with very high radioactivity (such as 100kCu) in our workspace. Even though we know that the range of alpha particles in air is about 4 cm and we try to stay away from the source and keep safe distance, we are not comfortable with having it around because it is stressful (say, like a mind-game). If we cover the source with a low Z material are we more safe? Do we have reason to feel more safe?

    I dunno, the only thing I have in mind is maybe because alpha radiation is ionizing if we cover it with a dense material (solid), maybe there is X-ray emittance involved.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2008 #2
    The only dose you need to worry about from alphas is to the skin, as alphas typically cannot penetrate the skin (considering a typically alpha source (Am-241) gives off alphas with energy of about 5 MeV). If you simply surround your source with some printer paper, it would be enough to contain the alpha source completely.

    Here is a nice link to read over: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~scdirof...tionandShielding/PenetrationandShielding.html
  4. May 7, 2008 #3
    So you think that it is safer to cover it with a low Z material? What about the X-rays? :confused:
    Last edited: May 7, 2008
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