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How can radiation be stopped by different materials?

  1. Dec 18, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Hi guys
    First post here. Im currently trying to complete a BTEC science assignment and have come across a question in which i just can not find the answers to. Ive been searching it up on the internet and cant find any information. Here it is:
    Research how each of the different types of radiation can be stopped by different materials.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I have managed to find out the three different types of radiation which are: Alpha, Beta and Gamma. I have also found out that their penentration ability has a key role in how they can be stopped but apart from that i cant find anything.
    If anybody could help it would be a great help and greatly appreciated
    Many thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2007 #2
  4. Dec 18, 2007 #3


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    Your best bet is to google again. Apha and beta radiation are much more easily shielded than gamma radiation. The effectiveness of a material to shield against gamma radiation depends primarily on its density and thickness. Lead is a good (one of the best) shield because of its high density; concrete is also often used for shielding in nuclear power plants, but because its density is only about 20% of lead, you would require about a 5 inch thickness of concrete to get the same shielding level as 1 inch thick lead. I recall using steel plate as a shield; its density being three times that of concrete, 1 inch steel plate would be equivalent to 3 inch thick concrete. The actual thickness of any given material required for adequate shielding would depend not only on its density, but the amount of the source radiation level, and distance from that source. Beyond this info, google again!
  5. Dec 18, 2007 #4
    Thank you both of you, as i said before its greatly appreciated. I have used the links dwintz02, however they dont seem to actually say how they are stopped by the materials. Is there any chance you would know how this process of stopping the radiation actually happens?. If not dont worry and thanks for you earlier help.
    kind regards
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