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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 30, 2022

Mechanical and gamma-ray shielding examinations of Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system

  • Aljawhara H. Almuqrin , Ashok Kumar EMAIL logo , Nimitha S. Prabhu , Julius Federico M. Jecong , Sudha D. Kamath and Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Al-Sayyed
From the journal Open Chemistry


Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass samples were prepared via melt quenching. The substitution of Bi2O3 for B2O3 resulted in a continuous increase in density from 4.334 to 5.742 g/cm3. The molar volume (V m) gradually increased from 37.197 to 38.429 cm3/mol when the Bi2O3 level increased from 10 to 25 mol%. With the addition of Bi2O3 from 10 to 25 mol%, Young’s, bulk, shear, and longitudinal modulus reduced from 40.80 to 35.07 GPa, 22.92 to 19.97 GPa, 16.95 to 14.52 GPa, and 45.53 to 39.33 GPa, respectively. These glasses are bendable rather than elongated and can withstand longitudinal stress over shear stress. Radiation protection qualities were investigated using EpiXS software, which is based on the ENDF/B-VIII EPICS2017 library, between 122 and 1275 keV. The mass attenuation coefficients are substantially higher at low energies. The radiation shielding properties of Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glasses were improved by replacing B2O3 with Bi2O3. Quantifying this improvement is critical in developing compact radiation shielding employing this glass system.

1 Introduction

Shielding radiation is done with various materials such as concrete, lead, and alloys. These materials, however, have several drawbacks that limit their use and drive people to seek out a suitable alternative [1,2]. Glass has been employed as an alternate material for radiation shielding in various industries, including radiation dosimetry, medical diagnostic processes, agriculture, and research facilities, during the past decade [3,4,5]. Glasses have various advantages, including transparency, ease of fabrication, and chemical composition that may be altered to produce desired glass qualities.

Diboron trioxide (B2O3) is commonly used in glass for radiation shielding because its borate (BO3) units swiftly transform into tetrahedral BO4 units [6]. Borate has a low density and is therefore unsuitable for shielding X-ray and gamma radiation. Metal and heavy-metal oxides can be used to increase the density and properties of the glass [7,8]. Also, glass modifiers such as PbO and Bi2O3 can improve glass’s radiation shielding capabilities while also altering its physical and mechanical properties [9]. The inclusion of these two oxides can increase the density of the glasses, which is an important requirement for establishing if a material is efficient for radiation shielding [10]. Bi2O3- and PbO-doped heavy-metal oxide glasses have promising applications in optoelectronics, non-linear optics, acousto-optical and magneto-optical properties, and other high refractive index applications [11]. Previously, Aboud et al. [12] evaluated the radiation shielding effectiveness of the (70-x)B2O3–10 Bi2O3–10BaO–10CdO–xPbO glasses using the Phy-X/PSD and XCOM programs, concluding that the suggested glass enhances the efficiency of IR shielding material.

To check its practicability in practical-world applications, the proposed radiation shielding glass must be evaluated for mechanical qualities [13,14]. When researching the mechanical properties of glasses, Young’s and longitudinal modulus are frequently acquired and investigated. Other indicators, like the Poisson’s ratio, can be useful as well [15]. Abouhaswa et al. [16] examined the photons shielding and mechanical characteristics of manufactured cadmium bismuth-borate transparent glasses. With the addition of Bi2O3, the shielding capacity and the mechanical properties of the glass improve. Also, the mechanical and shielding properties of CdO-containing borate glasses were investigated experimentally and theoretically using EpiXS, XCOM, XMuDat and Phy-X/PSD programs [17,18,19].

Several investigations have established that introducing Bi2O3, PbO, and CdO into the borate network changes the structure and density of the glasses, changing their mechanical and gamma-ray shielding capabilities. However, no research has been conducted on employing simply these glass modifiers to create a radiation shielding glass. The gamma-ray radiation shielding and mechanical properties of glasses comprised entirely of Bi2O3, PbO, CdO, and B2O3 glass modifiers are examined in this work. Although such glass is expected to be good for shielding gamma radiation due to its high density, it is still necessary to quantify its shielding properties, which is vital for developing a compact radiation shielding system.

2 Materials and methods

2.1 Preparation of samples

Glass samples with appropriate levels of Bi2O3, PbO, CdO, and B2O3 oxides were prepared by melt quenching [20,21]. First, the oxides were weighed in the quantities provided in Table 1 using a weighing balance with a precision of 0.001 g. After that, the mixture was transferred to an agate mortar and mixed. Using a muffle furnace, the admixture was moved to an alumina crucible. The temperature of the muffle furnace is steadily raised until it reaches 900°C, at which time a homogeneous melt of the previously specified combination forms. In another furnace known as the annealing furnace, a graphite mould is held at 250°C for an hour.

Table 1

Composition and density of samples

Sample code Mol% of components presents in the sample Density (g/cm3)
Bi2O3 PbO CdO B2O3
A1 10 30 10 50 4.334
A2 15 30 10 45 4.862
A3 20 30 10 40 5.279
A4 25 30 10 35 5.742

The muffle furnace melt is now swiftly transferred to the annealing furnace’s graphite mould. The mixture was held at 250°C for 2 h before being shut off from the annealing furnace, and the sample was allowed to cool to room temperature for the next 24 h while still in the annealing furnace. The prepared samples are depicted in Figure 1. The Archimedes method was used to compute the density of the samples, and the findings are reported in Table 1 [22,23].

Figure 1 
                  Picture of prepared samples: A1, A2, A3, A4.
Figure 1

Picture of prepared samples: A1, A2, A3, A4.

2.2 Mechanical parameters

Through G t and packing density (PD), the elastic moduli (Young’s [E], bulk [K], shear [S], longitudinal [L] moduli, microhardness [H], and Poisson’s ratio [ ϑ ] ) of the glasses are calculated [24] as follows:

(1) E = 2 G t · PD ,

(2) K = 1 . 2 PD · E ,

(3) S = 3 EK 9 K E ,

(4) L = K + 4 3 S ,

(5) ϑ = E 2 S 1 ,

(6) H = ( 1 2 ϑ ) E 6 ( 1 + ϑ ) .

2.3 Radiation shielding parameters

A narrow gamma-ray transmission to a material can be used to determine its radiation shielding characteristics. This procedure, however, is related to the handling of radiation equipment and radioactive sources, which necessitates adherence to radiation safety protocols. Because of the stringent requirements, there have been few experimental experiments on radiation shielding. Simulation programs, such as EpiXS software [25], provide an alternate method of assessing radiation shielding material for researchers who do not have access to radiation sources or facilities and do not want to be exposed to radiation.

EpiXS software [25] was used to determine the photon shielding quantities of the sample glasses. This software makes use of the Electron–Photon Interaction Cross Sections 2017 (EPICS2017) library, which contains the most recent atomic data released by the International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Data Services. This software calculates various photon shielding quantities such as the mass attenuation coefficient (MAC) of any element, compound, or mixture using the ENDF/B-VIII EPICS2017 library.

The MAC is computed by EpiXS software using the following equation:

(7) MAC cm 2 g = σ T N A f i A i .

The MAC is multiplied by the material’s density (ρ) to calculate linear attenuation coefficient (LAC).

(8) LAC 1 cm = MAC · ρ .

The efficiency of a material’s shielding capabilities to a photon may likewise be defined by the HVL or TVL, as shown below:

(9) HVL ( cm ) = ln ( 2 ) LAC ,

(10) TVL ( cm ) = ln ( 10 ) LAC .

3 Results and discussion

3.1 Mechanical parameters

The density values of the A1–A4 coded samples containing Bi2O3, PbO, CdO, and B2O3 are presented in Table 1. The gradual replacement of B2O3 by Bi2O3 led to a steady increase in ρ from 4.334 to 5.742 g/cm3 ascribed to the substitution of B atoms by Bi atoms. The molar volume (V m) gradually rose from 37.197 to 38.429 cm3/mol when Bi2O3 increased from 10 to 25 mol%. The openness of the structure was reflected by the increasing values of V m [26]. The elastic constants from Makishima–Mackenzie’s theory [24] were determined using the PD of the glasses. The PD was initially obtained by the ratio of V i x i and V m, where V i the packing factor of each chemical in the glass (determined by considering the ionic radii of the constituents in the chemicals) and x i is the corresponding mole fraction. The dissociation energy per unit volume (G t) of the glasses was determined from the dissociation energy per unit volume for each constituent oxide.

The mechanical properties of the A1–A4 coded samples are summarized in Table 2. The trend in the elastic moduli of the A1–A4 coded samples is shown in Figure 2. Young’s modulus, which typically refers to a material’s rigidity, reduced somewhat from 40.80 to 35.07 GPa with the addition of Bi2O3 from 10 to 25 mol%. This means that the matrix’s stiffness is decreasing. Furthermore, the K values decreased from 22.92 to 19.97 GPa, and the S values decreased from 16.95 to 14.52 GPa. The longitudinal modulus of the A1–A4 coded samples decreased from 45.53 to 39.33 GPa but was greater than the corresponding shear modulus values (16.95–14.52 GPa). When the tensile force is applied, the value of ϑ , which is the ratio of transverse and longitudinal strains, remains about 0.21.

Table 2

Mechanical properties of the A1–A4 coded glass system

Sample code ρ (g/cm3) V m (cm3/mol) E (GPa) K (GPa) S (GPa) L (GPa) H (GPa) ϑ
A1 4.334 37.197 40.80 22.92 16.95 45.53 3.35 0.20
A2 4.862 37.233 39.30 22.40 16.27 44.10 3.17 0.21
A3 5.279 38.046 36.97 20.95 15.33 41.39 3.01 0.21
A4 5.742 38.429 35.07 19.97 14.52 39.33 2.83 0.21
Figure 2 
                  Elastic moduli for the samples.
Figure 2

Elastic moduli for the samples.

3.2 Radiation shielding characteristics

The aim of radiation shielding is to minimize the exposure to gamma energy to a level that has no negative effects on humans or the environment. The MAC of the four glasses between 122 and 1,275 keV is depicted in Figure 3. The MACs are relatively higher at low energies. This suggests that radiations with the energy of 122 keV are more likely to interact with the glasses than photons with energies of 1,275 keV. Since the former has a much lower total cross section than the latter, the MAC increases when the glass composition B2O3 oxide is replaced with Bi2O3 oxide. A4 glass has the maximum photon cross section in the energies ranging from 122 to 1,275 keV because it has the highest Bi2O3 oxide mol.% concentration of the four sample glasses. The difference in the MAC between the sample glasses is obvious at lower energies, but it becomes less so as the photon energy increases in the specified energy range. This suggests that the difference in total cross section, which is directly proportional to MAC, between Bi2O3 and B2O3 at 122 keV is likewise greater than at higher photon energies.

Figure 3 
                  MAC of the glasses using EPICS2017.
Figure 3

MAC of the glasses using EPICS2017.

Figure 4 illustrates the LAC of the sample glasses. Similarly, the LAC of the glass is relatively higher at low energies but decreases as photon energy increases. The behavior of the sample glasses LAC is comparable to that of the MAC since the latter is a normalization of the LAC per unit density of a substance that yields a constant value for a given element, compound, or combination. The minor differences are attributable to the varied densities of the sample glasses.

Figure 4 
                  Linear attenuation coefficient (LAC) of the glasses using EPICS2017.
Figure 4

Linear attenuation coefficient (LAC) of the glasses using EPICS2017.

The HVL and TVL can be described in terms of the efficacy of the materials protection against gamma rays. The energy of individual photons and the shielding material’s characteristics determine the amount of radiation that penetrates via a specific thickness of the shield. HVL is the most often utilized quantitative component for defining the penetrating capacity of certain radiations as well as their penetration into a specific medium. When these parameters are known, the penetration through additional thicknesses is simple to calculate. Figure 5 illustrates the HVL and TVL of the sample glasses after interpolation with the EPICS2017 data library. Based from this graph, A4 glass is the most efficient shielding material since it can attenuate photon energy with the least amount of thickness. This is critical for developing a compact radiation shielding system.

Figure 5 
                  Plot of (a) half-value layer (HVL) and (b) tenth-value layer (TVL) using EPICS2017.
Figure 5

Plot of (a) half-value layer (HVL) and (b) tenth-value layer (TVL) using EPICS2017.

The prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system’s HVLs at 1.275 MeV were compared to other borate glass systems comprising heavy metal oxides such as PbO and WO3 [27], shown in Figure 6. One of the fabricated glass samples, which contains 25 mol% of Bi2O3, has lower HVL (i.e. better attenuation performance) than the borate glasses with 10 mol% of WO3 and 30–50 mol% of PbO. Also, among the four glasses, the sample with 20 mol% Bi2O3 has very close HVL to the glass in the PbO–WO3–Na2O–MgO–B2O3 glass system, which contains 50 mol% of PbO and 10 mol% of WO3. The current glass with 15 mol% of Bi2O3 has a higher HVL than 40PbO–10WO3–10Na2O–10MgO–30B2O3.

Figure 6 
                  Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the PbO–WO3–Na2O–MgO–B2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.
Figure 6

Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the PbO–WO3–Na2O–MgO–B2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.

At 1.275 MeV, Figure 7 compares the HVLs of the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with bismuth sodium borate glasses [28]. The current sample, which contains 25 mol% Bi2O3, has lower HVL (i.e. better attenuation competence) than the previously prepared borate glass system, which contains 40 mol% Bi2O3. This is due to the fact that the current glass sample contains not just Bi2O3, but also PbO, and the combination of these two heavy metal oxide (HMO) decreases the HVL of the current glasses. Furthermore, the glass containing 20 mol% Bi2O3 in this study has better HVL attenuation ability than the glass containing 30 and 25 mol% Bi2O3 in the bismuth sodium borate glass system, confirming the importance of using different HMOs in radiation shielding glasses to obtain a glass with excellent radiation attenuation performance.

Figure 7 
                  Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the Bi2O3–Na2O–B2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.
Figure 7

Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the Bi2O3–Na2O–B2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.

At 1.275 MeV, the HVLs of the borate-based glasses in the current study were also compared to previous HVL borate glasses comprising SrO and PbO [29] (see Figure 8). Due to the high concentration of Bi2O3 in glass sample A4, it has a substantially lower HVL than the B2O3–SrO–PbO glasses. The HVL of the current sample with 20 mol% Bi2O3 is nearly identical to the HVL of the 10SrO–60B2O3–30PbO glass. The current glass sample with 15 mol% Bi2O3 provides a better shield than glasses with the following compositions: 10SrO–30PbO–60B2O3 and 20SrO–20PbO–60B2O3.

Figure 8 
                  Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the SrO–PbO–B2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.
Figure 8

Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the SrO–PbO–B2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.

Finally, as shown in Figure 9, the radiation attenuation performance of the current borate-based glasses was compared to that of the PbO–Sb2O3–B2O3–Gd2O3 glass system [30]. Glass samples A4 and A3 have lower HVLs than glasses in the PbO–Sb2O3–B2O3–Gd2O3 system due to the large amount of Bi2O3 and the presence of PbO. The current glass sample, which contains 15 mol% Bi2O3, has nearly identical shielding capabilities to the glass in the PbO–Sb2O3–B2O3–Gd2O3 system, which has 25 mol% Sb2O3 and 0.2 mol% Gd2O3.

Figure 9 
                  Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the PbO–Sb2O3–B2O3–Gd2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.
Figure 9

Comparison between the HVL for the prepared Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 glass system with the PbO–Sb2O3–B2O3–Gd2O3 glass system at 1.275 MeV.

4 Conclusion

Glass samples of Bi2O3–PbO–CdO–B2O3 were made by melt quenching. Density gradually rose from 4.334 to 5.742 g/cm3 after B2O3 was replaced with Bi2O3. Despite an increase in V m, the Young’s, bulk, shear, and longitudinal moduli all dropped. These glasses can withstand longitudinal stress rather than shear stress because they are flexible rather than elongated. When a tensile force is applied, the transverse to longitudinal stress ratio remains close to 0.21. Radiation shielding capabilities for energies ranging from 122 to 1,275 keV were examined. In terms of radiation shielding, the present glass system outperforms other borate glass systems at 1,275 keV. Among the four glass samples presented here, A4 is the most effective shielding material since it can reduce the same photon energy with the least amount of shielding. It is necessary to quantify the properties of any radiation shielding materials because it is vital for developing a compact radiation shielding system.


The authors express their gratitude to Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University Researchers Supporting Project (number PNURSP2022R2), Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

  1. Funding information: The authors express their gratitude to Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University Researchers Supporting Project (number PNURSP2022R2), Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

  2. Author contributions: Conceptualization: A.H.A., M.I.S., and N.S.P.; methodology: M.I.S., J.F.M.J., and N.S.P.; software: J.F.M.J.; validation: N.S.P. and A.K.; formal analysis: M.I.S. and A.K.; investigation: A.H.A., M.I.S., A.K., and S.D.K.; resources: J.F.M.J.; data curation: N.S.P. and A.K.; writing – original draft preparation: A.H.A., M.I.S., J.F.M.J., and N.S.P.; writing – review and editing: A.H.A., S.D.K.; and N.S.P.; visualization: J.F.M.J. and M.I.S.; supervision: S.D.K.; project administration: A.H.A. and M.I.S.; funding acquisition: A.H.A. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

  3. Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

  4. Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animal use.

  5. Data availability statement: The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.


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Received: 2022-04-03
Revised: 2022-06-21
Accepted: 2022-07-24
Published Online: 2022-08-30

© 2022 Aljawhara H. Almuqrin et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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