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Evaluation of Lead Equivalence of Patient and Hardware Materials In Medical Diagnostic X-Ray Shielding

Okunade, Akintunde Akangbe*

doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000147791.11446.0a
A Guide to SI Units in Radiation Protection: Operational Topic

In the estimation of additional shielding requirements for primary beam apart from that provided by patient and hardware in the x-ray beam, there is the need to distinguish between attenuation and hardening properties of materials in comparison. In this work, numerical comparison of attenuation and hardening properties of phantom (Lucite, soft tissue, water) and hardware (aluminum and steel) materials with those of lead have been carried out. Results presented show that the shielding affordable by lead attenuation equivalent thicknesses (LAE) and lead hardening equivalent thicknesses (LHE) is not strictly equivalent to that affordable by thicknesses of substitutes (phantom materials, aluminum and steel) when there are differences in attenuation and hardening properties. Even though beams through LAE that are not “exact” have equal exposure values, the half value layers are higher than those through thicknesses of lead substitutes. Example calculations show that the use of lead thickness (LAE) that are not “exact” to account for the shielding afforded by the thickness of the patient (water phantom) produces lesser reduction of the primary radiation level in the area indicated for shielding. The “exact” LAE that will reduce the primary radiation level equally as the patient and radiographic table may be higher by close to 20% or more of that which is not “exact.”vk

* Department of Physics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

The shielding provided by and the hardening of the x-ray beam by the patient and any additional hardware intercepting the x-ray beam can affect the shielding needed in walls.

©2005Health Physics Society