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Transparent shielding

  1. Nov 7, 2005 #1
    Does a transparent material exist which can shield against galactic cosmic rays i.e. high energy nuclei of light elements?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2005 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Well transparent materials come in two main varieties - organic (e.g. polycarbonates) and inorganic (e.g. glasses/cermaics like sapphire or other Al-metal oxides).

    The atomics mass of the sheild material is important - the lower the mass, the more effective the material is in dissipating the radiation.

    The requirement for transparency though, pretty much limits the choices.

    One thing about organics materials - the radiation breaks up the molecular/atomic bonds and the materials will cross-link or change chemically, which will ultimately change the optical properties - browning of the material. Another phenomenon is the development of crystal defects, which is the issue that causes reduction of transparency in inorganic materials.

    Then there is the issue of particle impacts.

    Lexan by GE is an example of a transparent polycarbonate. http://www.gelexan.com/gelexan/

    Finally, a problem of any shielding material is the production of secondary radiations from nuclear interactions as well as bremstrahlung, X-ray, etc.

    Light element materials like Al can undergo spallation reactions with high energy cosmic rays, so reducing those materials is important. On the other hand, light materials of high strength are preferred for spacecraft.
  4. Nov 8, 2005 #3
    Thank you for the help
  5. Nov 8, 2005 #4
    Metallic Helium may be an answer to some very protective Shells/layers, But we don't currently have much knowledge of such a material, If a solid structure of Metallic Helium could be made that was stably solid then the material would be totally inert to chemical attack, Maybe some other benifits as well.

    I do know that there is knowledge of Metallic Hydrogen but none that I know of on Metallic Helium.
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