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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access November 30, 2023

Clay-based bricks’ rich illite mineral for gamma-ray shielding applications: An experimental evaluation of the effect of pressure rates on gamma-ray attenuation parameters

  • K. A. Mahmoud and M. W. Marashdeh EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Chemistry


The objective of this study is to increase the natural clay mineral-based bricks’ ability to shield γ-rays without the use of external doping materials. Six brick samples were consequently developed at various pressure rates (PRs). The chemical composition and structure of the manufactured bricks are unaffected by the PR applied. The main constituents in the clay used to make bricks are illite and quartz minerals, according to an X-ray diffraction pattern. Additionally, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersion X-rays have demonstrated the morphology and chemical composition of the used clay. Besides, the Mh-300A density meter shows an increase in the fabricated bricks’ density by increasing the PR, where the brick’s density increased by 32.92% by increasing the PR from 7.61 to 114.22 MPa, respectively. Also, the effects of the PR on the radiation shielding properties of the fabricated bricks were investigated using a NaI (Tl) detector. The data reveal that increasing the PR between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa improved the linear attenuation coefficient by 44.5, 23.8, 24.2, and 24.8%, respectively, for gamma-ray energies of 0.662, 1.173, 1.252, and 1.332 MeV. The capacity of fabricated bricks to shield against radiation increases as the linear attenuation coefficient increases. The lead’s equivalent thickness and half-value thickness of the fabricated clay-based bricks, on the other hand, decreased. As a result, the compacted natural clay brick, which is a lead-free material, provides a suitable alternative for gamma-ray shielding in radioactive locations.

1 Introduction

The use of radioactive sources has increased recently due to advances in nuclear science and engineering in a variety of disciplines, including nuclear research facilities, nuclear power plants, and medical treatments. Biological radiation protection must provide adequate protection to workers at an acceptable cost to ensure safe working conditions for employment. When operating in radioactivity zones during maintenance and decommissioning, protection of radioactive sources is most commonly used according to the optimization concepts [1,2,3,4,5]. The traditional and inexpensive shielding materials against gamma rays are lead and concrete [6].

Due to the environmental risks of lead, as well as the sensitivity to chemicals and degradation of concrete over time from radiation exposure, researchers are looking for new materials that can withstand gamma radiation while being environmentally friendly and cost-effective. However, due to the environmental hazards of lead [7] as well as the sensitivity to chemicals and degradation of concrete over time radiation exposure [8,9], researchers are looking forward to new materials that can withstand gamma rays while simultaneously being eco-friendly and nonexpensive. Regarding low-cost materials, the natural materials utilized (rocks and soil) as shielding materials must also be devoid of radioactive elements. As a result, it is not possible to employ black sand associated with monazite or any other natural rocks with high uranium and thorium concentrations, such as those indicated in previous studies [1013].

Determining the radiation protection performance for various materials, including construction materials [14,15,16,17,18,19], concretes [20,21,22,23], polymers [24,25,26,27,28,29], and glasses [30,31,32,33], has been the subject of several pertinent studies in recent years.

Clay has a high melting point, which gives it high fire resistance, weak conductivity, thermochemical stability, high durability, excellent mechanical strength at high temperatures, high resistance to thermal shock, low thermal shrinkage, and corrosion resistance. Its good refractory properties increase its uses in industrial fields. These industrial fields include building materials and ceramic fabrication. From ancient times, clay has been used for brick fabrication.

Recent studies show that clay soils exhibit superior photon energy absorption properties compared to other soils [34,35,36]. In this regard, additional research and developments are required for the development of bricks suitable for protecting against radiation. Making compacted bricks with flyash in clay that has an appropriate amount of water content is one technique to make use of the fine clay particle size and pozzolanic flyash. The fine grain size of pozzolanic flyash helps to decrease the void ratio and boost the strength; the flyash’s smaller particles will fill the clay pores. According to Temimi et al. [37], the addition of flyash improves the mechanical characteristics of the clay. The high compressive strength and low water absorption are characteristics of fired bricks with high flyash volume ratios [38]. Further work enhanced the radiation shielding performance using various external natural or manufactured doping materials [39,40,41,42].

The present work’s novelty is to enhance the gamma-ray shielding properties of clay bricks without utilizing external doping materials. This enhancement was performed by applying various pressure rates (PRs, MPa) to the bricks under fabrication to produce compact bricks. Simultaneously, the impacts of various PRs on the structural, morphological, and gamma-ray shielding properties were experimentally examined.

2 Materials and methods

2.1 Fabrication and characterization

A series of brick-based clay minerals was fabricated according to the chemical formula 90 wt% clay mineral + 10 wt% epoxy with various PRs (7.61–114.22 MPa). For 10 min, clay minerals and epoxy were stirred together to create a homogeneous mixture. Then, the homogenous mixture was molded using cylindrical-shaped stainless steel with a diameter of 2.129 cm and subjected to a compacting pressure ranging from 1 to 15 metric tons which is approximately 7.6–114.2 MPa. SlabDOC (Ivanovo, Russia) provided the curing agent and the epoxy resin that was utilized in the fabrication process. Additionally, a press of 15 metric tons, model SD0821ROSSVIK (Yekaterinburg, Russia), was used for fabricated brick formations. Figure 1 shows a schematic representation of the fabrication process. The thicknesses of the developed brick-based clays were measured using a caliper supplied by an X-PERT with a measurement range of 1–150 mm. The caliper’s origin is Moscow, Russia, and its measurement uncertainty is around 0.01 µm. Additionally, with an error of 0.001 g/cm3, the density of the bricks was measured using an MH-300 A density meter from Guangdong, China. Water was used as an immersing liquid during the measurements following Archimedes’ primary equation (1). The measurement’s error was within 0.001 g/cm3 [43,44]:

(1) Density ρ , g cm 3 = ( W a W L ) W a ρ L ,

where W a and W L represent the weight of the fired bricks in liquid and dry air, respectively.

Figure 1 
                  Schematic diagram of the fabrication processes.
Figure 1

Schematic diagram of the fabrication processes.

2.2 Characterization

X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques were used for mineralogical examinations of the fabricated brick-based clay as well as analyses of their corresponding phase composition. The XRD patterns were made using a Malvern Panalytical Empyrean X-ray diffractometer with CuKα1 radiation (λ = 1.5418) and operating tube voltage and current of 40 kV and 30 mA, respectively. Diffraction patterns were obtained at 2θ intervals between 5° and 75° and compared to existing patterns in powder diffraction files.

The chemical composition and morphology of the fabricated bricks were detected using SEM (Thermo Scientific Prisma E, USA) and the EDX equipment. SEM photos were captured using a 30 kV accelerating voltage at a magnification of 1,500×.

Furthermore, an ALPHA II (Bruker Optics, USA) Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometer was used for FTIR measurements over a wavenumber range extending between 4,500 and 500 cm−1.

2.3 Gamma-ray shielding examination

Furthermore, the experimental measurements of the linear attenuation coefficient (µ, cm−1) for the developed bricks were conducted employing an Ortec scintillation detector connected to a NaI (Tl) crystal. The scintillation detector was designed to count the number of γ-ray photons emitted from two gamma-ray radioactive sources Cs-137 and Co-60 with gamma-ray energies (E γ, MeV) of 0.662, 1.173, and 1.332 MeV. Before beginning the measurement, the γ-ray source was placed within the collimator. The detector recorded the γ-ray count I o (without using fabricated bricks) and I (using fabricated bricks) for both radioactive sources Cs-137 and Co-60. The presence of fabricated brick samples was then measured by inserting different thicknesses of produced bricks and recording (I) values for each thickness. Both I and I o were detected several times, and the net values obtained were averaged to reduce the uncertainty in measurements. Based on the measured intensities I and I o, the µ values of the developed bricks were experimentally examined according to the Lambert–Beer law in equation (2), where x is the developed brick’s thickness [45]:

(2) μ ( c m 1 ) = 1 x ln I o I .

Then, based on the measured µ, I, and I o values, as explained in equations (3) and (4), the half-value layer ( 0.5 ), radiation protection ( RPE ), and lead equivalent thickness ( eq ) were calculated for the developed clay-based bricks as

(3) Δ 0.5 ( cm ) = ln ( 2 ) μ ,

(4) RPE = ( I o I ) I o × 100 .

(5) Δ eq ( cm ) = ln ( X material ( ln ( I o / I ) ) Lead ) / ( ( ln ( I o / I ) ) material )

3 Results and discussion

The majority of the Earth’s crust is made up of clay, a sedimentary rock [46]. According to Elgamouz et al. [47], clays are made up of extremely small particles that plasticize when combined with a suitable amount of water and solidify when dried or calcined. Illite, kaolinite, and smectite are examples of pure clay minerals that can be found in nature, as well as combinations of these minerals with other impurities such as quartz, calcite, and organic residues [48]. The clay samples are mostly illite, according to the XRD data, and the fire method has no discernible impact on the mineralogical composition (Figure 2). In the current study, the clay utilized is mainly made of illite and quartz, as proven by the XRD pattern.

Figure 2 
               XRD pattern for the clay mineral utilized in brick fabrication.
Figure 2

XRD pattern for the clay mineral utilized in brick fabrication.

The main constituents of the clay used are Si, Al, Fe, and K, according to the chemical makeup of the clay samples, shown in Table 1 and Figure 3, as determined by SEM-EDX. Additionally, the clay sample contains traces of Ti as illustrated in Table 1. Illites are tiny and slightly crystalline particles, according to the backscattered electron pictures of the clay under investigation, as illustrated in Figure 3. In the current work, one type of clay was utilized to fabricate the bricks at various PRs. Hence, XRD, SEM, and EDX techniques required the fabricated samples in a powder form. Therefore, the PR does not affect the chemical composition or the structure of the fabricated bricks.

Table 1

Chemical composition of the utilized clay mineral

Element Chemical composition (wt%) Error (%)
C 11.0 0.9
O 50.3 1.1
Al 3.5 0.2
Si 31.1 0.4
K 0.7 0.1
Ti 0.5 0.2
Mn 0.2 0.1
Fe 2.8 0.1
Figure 3 
               SEM and EDX analysis of the clay mineral utilized in brick fabrication.
Figure 3

SEM and EDX analysis of the clay mineral utilized in brick fabrication.

Figure 4 displays the typical peaks for a pure epoxy composite; the shoulder at around 3,250 cm−1 may correspond to R–OH stretching, which includes phenols. Other minor signals that overlap the main OH band may be seen at approximately 3,070 cm−1, indicating aromatic C–H stretching, and at approximately 2,916–2,861 cm−1, indicating aliphatic C–H stretching. Other broad bands that can be attributed to various aliphatic and aromatic C–H vibrations can be seen at 1,239, 1,180, 825, and 560 cm−1, in addition to the major signals. For example, the region around 1,495 cm−1 is probably associated with alkene CH2 deformation; the regions around 1,104 and 825 cm−1 could be associated with aromatic ═C–H in-plane/out-of-plane vibrations; and the region around 580 cm−1 might indicate substituted aromatic ring deformations [49,50]. Additionally, for pure clay and clay-doped epoxy, it was evident from the bands present at approximately 819, 785, 685, and 529 cm−1 that all of the samples were rich in quartz. Illite was also found in the pure clay and clay-doped epoxy samples, as evidenced by the distinct signals of bands observed at approximately 3,616, 2,356, 1,636, and 1,044 cm−1. Previous studies have also revealed findings that were comparable to these [51,52].

Figure 4 
               The FT-IR spectrum of the fabricated clay-based bricks.
Figure 4

The FT-IR spectrum of the fabricated clay-based bricks.

The PR variations, on the other hand, have a substantial influence on the ρ values of developed bricks. With increasing PRs, the ρ of the fabricated bricks increased, as shown in Figure 5. The increase in the applied PR values between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa enhances the µ values of the developed bricks’ by ∼33%. The improvement in the ρ values of developed bricks is attributed to the compactness of the fabricated composite, where increasing the PR reduces the distance between the clay particles constituting the developed bricks. Therefore, the fabricated bricks became more compact, and as a result the ρ values increased.

Figure 5 
               Influence of the PR on the density of the fabricated bricks.
Figure 5

Influence of the PR on the density of the fabricated bricks.

Experiments were carried out to determine the gamma-ray attenuation properties by plotting the relationship between Ln(I o/I) and the thicknesses of the bricks made, as shown in Figure 6 for the Cs-137 radioactive source. According to the present study, the µ values at 0.662 MeV for the bricks developed under PRs of 7.61, 22.84, 45.70, 68.55, 91.40, and 114.22 MPa are 0.066, 0.071, 0.095, 0.099, 0.115, and 0.119 cm−1, respectively. Then, increasing the E γ values is accompanied by a decrease in the measured µ values as illustrated in Figure 7a. The µ values were reduced by 26.9, 30.3, 45.4, 43.6, 47.0, and 46.1%, respectively, for bricks developed under PR of 7.61, 22.84, 45.70, 68.55, 91.40, and 114.22 MPa, increasing the E γ in the interval between 0.662 and 1.332 MeV. The decrease is due to the Compton scattering interaction, which varied inversely with E γ [53,54]. Therefore, increasing the E γ values increases the penetration power and frequency of the applied photons which is accompanied by a considerable decrease in γ-interactions cross-section. As a result, the number of photon–electron interactions decreased accompanied by an increase in the number of transmitted photons compared to the initial number of emitted photons. The net result is a reduction in the µ values while increasing the E γ values. The decrease in µ values with increasing E γ values affected the Δ 0.5, Δ eq, and RPE values, as presented in Figure 7b–d. The Δ 0.5 values were increased from 10.46 to 14.32 cm (for brick fabricated under a pressure of 7.61 MPa), from 9.80 to 14.07 cm (for brick fabricated under a pressure of 22.84 MPa), from 7.33 to 13.43 cm (for brick fabricated under a pressure of 45.70 MPa), from 7.02 to 12.44 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 68.55 MPa), from 6.05 to 11.41 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 91.40 MPa), and increased from 5.80 to 10.76 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 114.22 MPa) with increasing E γ values from 0.662 to 1.332 MeV, respectively, as illustrated in Figure 7b. The increase in Δ 0.5 values is due to the inverse relationship between Δ 0.5 and µ. An increase in the number of transmitted photons coincided with the reduction in µ values, necessitating a higher Δ 0.5 value to attenuate these photons.

Figure 6 
               Variation of ln (I
                  o/I) versus the fabricated samples thicknesses at a gamma-ray energy of 0.662 MeV.
Figure 6

Variation of ln (I o/I) versus the fabricated samples thicknesses at a gamma-ray energy of 0.662 MeV.

Figure 7 
               Impact of the selected gamma-ray energies on linear attenuation coefficient (µ, cm−1), half-value thickness (Δ
                  0.5, cm), lead equivalent thickness (Δ
                  eq, cm), and radiation protection efficiency (RPE, %).
Figure 7

Impact of the selected gamma-ray energies on linear attenuation coefficient (µ, cm−1), half-value thickness (Δ 0.5, cm), lead equivalent thickness (Δ eq, cm), and radiation protection efficiency (RPE, %).

The Δ eq quantities were estimated for the fabricated brick, as illustrated in Figure 7c. The estimated values show a reduction in the Δ eq values with increasing E γ values where the Δ eq values decreased from 18.76 to 13.10 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 7.61 MPa), from 17.58 to 12.87 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 22.84 MPa), from 13.14 to 12.28 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 45.70 MPa), from 12.58 to 11.38 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 68.55 MPa), from 10.85 to 10.44 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 91.40 MPa), from 10.41 to 9.85 cm (for brick fabricated under a PR of 91.40 MPa), increasing E γ values in the interval between 0.662 and 1.332 MeV. The aforementioned downward trend in Δ eq values is ascribed to a drop in both Pb and µ values of the developed bricks, where the Pb values decrease by 96% and the fabricated values decrease by 26.9, 30.3, 45.4, 43.6, 47.0, and 46.1% when E γ values increased. The E γ values also affect the RPE values, where the RPE values decrease by increasing the E γ values. Increasing the E γ values causes an increase in the penetration power of the emitted photons. Therefore, the emitted photons pass through the thickness of the fabricated bricks with a small number of photon–electron interactions. Therefore, the transmitted photons increased compared to I o values which led to a reduction in the absorbed photons within the bricks’ thickness. As a result, Figure 6d shows a decrease in the RPE values with an increase in the emitted photon energy. For example, the RPE of 5 cm of the developed bricks was decreased by 12.6, 13.5, 16.1, 14.9, 11.2, and 11.1%, respectively, for bricks developed under a PR of 7.61, 22.84, 45.70, 68.55, 91.40, and 114.22 MPa, increasing the E γ between 0.662 and 1.332 MeV.

To qualify the protection abilities of the developed clay-based brick samples, the µ values of the developed clay-based bricks were compared to those of some previously reported bricks in the literature [39,5558] at E γ = 0.662 MeV, as shown in Figure 8. The fabricated clay-based bricks have µ values of 0.066, 0.071, 0.095, 0.099, 0.115, and 0.119 cm−1, respectively, for samples fabricated at PRs of 7.62, 22.84, 45.70, 68.55, 91.40, and 114.22 MPa. The aforementioned µ values for developed samples in the current study are lower than that published for samples CB40 (60 wt% clay + 40 wt% barite powder), CSS ( 40 wt% clay + 40 wt% steel slag), clay, CF10 (clay + 10% fly ash content), CF20 (clay + 20% fly ash content), CF30 (clay + 30% fly ash content), CF40 (clay + 40% fly ash content), KG00 (unbaked kaolin brick 100%), KG10 (90 wt% unbaked kaolin + 10 wt% granite), KG20 (80 wt% unbaked kaolin + 20 wt% granite), KG30 (70 wt% unbaked kaolin + 30 wt% granite), KG40 (60 wt% unbaked kaolin + 40 wt% granite), KG50 (50 wt% unbaked kaolin + 50 wt% granite brick), KG00B (100 wt% baked kaolin brick), KG10B (90 wt% baked kaolin + 10 wt% granite), KG20B (80 wt% baked kaolin + 20 wt% granite), KG30B (70 wt% baked kaolin + 30 wt% granite), KG40B (60 wt% baked kaolin + 40 wt% granite), and KG50B (50 wt% baked kaolin, 50 wt% granite) with µ values of 0.165, 0.159, 0.138, 0.131, 0.127, 0.125, 0.121, 0.146, 0.152, 0.158, 0.163, 0.167, 0.170, 0.146, 0.152, 0.158, 0.162, 0.166, and 0.168 cm−1, respectively. The high µ values for the previously reported bricks are related to the dense doping materials such as steel slag, granite, and barite. On the other hand, the fabricated bricks with PRs of 91.40 and 114.22 MPa have µ values close to that reported for brick (µ = 0.114 cm−1) and CF50 (50 wt% clay + 50 wt% fly ash) (µ = 0.117 cm−1).

Figure 8 
               Comparison between the linear attenuation coefficient of the fabricated clay-based bricks and some previously reported bricks.
Figure 8

Comparison between the linear attenuation coefficient of the fabricated clay-based bricks and some previously reported bricks.

The impact of PR on the radiation shielding capacities including µ, Δ 0.5, Δ eq, and RPE is shown in Figure 9. According to the data presented in Figure 9a, increasing the PR between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa improves the µ values of the developed bricks by 44.5% (at 0.662 MeV), 23.8% (at 1.173 MeV), 24.2% (at 1.252 MeV), and 24.8% (at 1.332 MeV). The increase in µ values is related to the ρ values of the developed bricks, which increased as the PR increased. Increasing the PR decreases the distance between the brick particles, which leads to an increase in the number of photon–electron interactions within the thickness of the developed brick and an increase in the interactions between the emitted photon and electrons of the developed bricks. Therefore, the γ-energy consumed within the fabricated thickness increased, and the transmitted photon numbers decreased as a result. Therefore, the µ values increased with an increase in the RPE values, as illustrated in Figure 9d. The study depicts an increase in the RPE values by 37.3% (at 0.662 MeV), 20.6% (at 1.173 MeV), 21.1% (at 1.252 MeV), and 21.9% (at 1.332 MeV), increasing the PR between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa.

Figure 9 
               Impacts of the PR on linear attenuation coefficient (µ, cm−1), half-value thickness (Δ
                  0.5, cm), lead equivalent thickness (Δ
                  eq, cm), and radiation protection efficiency (RPE, %).
Figure 9

Impacts of the PR on linear attenuation coefficient (µ, cm−1), half-value thickness (Δ 0.5, cm), lead equivalent thickness (Δ eq, cm), and radiation protection efficiency (RPE, %).

The increase in the µ values affects the Δ 0.5 quantities inversely, where the Δ 0.5 values decreased with increasing PR (Δ 0.5 = 0.693 µ −1). For example, Figure 9b shows a decrease in the Δ 0.5 quantities between 10.46 and 5.80 cm (at 0.662 MeV), 12.28–9.36 cm (at 1.173 MeV), 13.21–10.2 cm (at 1.252 MeV), and 14.32–10.76 cm (at 1.332 MeV), increasing the PR between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa. Additionally, the improvement in µ values decreases the Δ eq values as shown in Figure 9c. The Δ eq values decreased between 18.76 and 10.41 cm (at 0.662 MeV), 12.35–9.41 cm (at 1.173 MeV), 12.62–9.57 cm (at 1.252 MeV), and 13.10–9.85 cm (at 1.332 MeV), increasing the PR between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa, respectively. The decrease in Δ eq is due to the increase in µ of fabricated bricks compared to the µ values of Pb, as a result of the increase in PRs.

The bricks thickness is another important factor affecting the RPE of the fabricated brick as illustrated in Figure 10. The increase in the brick thickness increased the RPE of the fabricated brick where the RPE was increased at an E γ = 0.662 MeV from 6.41 to 74.42% (for bricks fabricated under a PR of 7.61 MPa) and enhanced from 11.26 to 90.83% (for bricks fabricated under a PR of 114.22 MPa), increasing the brick thickness from 1 to 20 cm, respectively. The thicker the brick sample, the more interactions between photons and bricks’ electrons occurred. As a result, the photon loses a large part of its energy during the interactions and does not have enough energy to penetrate the brick thickness. Therefore, a large number of incident photons were absorbed within the brick thicknesses, and the RPE increased.

Figure 10 
               Impact of the thickness of the fabricated brick on the calculated values of RPE (%) at a gamma-ray energy of 0.662 MeV.
Figure 10

Impact of the thickness of the fabricated brick on the calculated values of RPE (%) at a gamma-ray energy of 0.662 MeV.

4 Conclusions

In the current study, a series of six brick samples were developed under different PRs ranging between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa. The SEM and EDX studies show the independence of the structural properties and chemical composition of the applied PR. Additionally, the XRD pattern showed that the clay used in brick fabrication mainly consists of illite and quartz minerals. Furthermore, increasing the PR between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa increases the density of the developed clay-based bricks between 1.19 and 1.58 g/cm3, respectively. Simultaneously, the increase in the density of fabricated bricks is accompanied by an increase in the µ values of the developed bricks. The µ values of the developed bricks were improved between 0.066 and 1.119 cm−1 (at 0.662 MeV) and 0.048–0.064 cm−1 (at 1.332 MeV), increasing the PR between 7.61 and 114.22 MPa. The increase in µ values is combined with an increase in the RPE of the fabricated bricks and a decrease in Δ 0.5 and Δ eq values. According to the study, the developed bricks with thicker thicknesses have higher capacities to protect against gamma rays. For example, 20 cm of natural clay-based brick has an RPE of 90% at 0.662 MeV and 72% at 1.332 MeV. The study found that the PR improved the radiation shielding effect and decreased the radiation permeability. Therefore, the fabricated bricks can be used as an alternative suitable candidate to solve the radiation shielding problems.

  1. Funding information: The authors extend their appreciation to the Deputyship for Research & Innovation, Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia for funding this research through project number IFP-IMSIU-2023005. The authors also appreciate the Deanship of Scientific Research at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University (IMSIU) for supporting and supervising this project.

  2. Author contributions: Material preparation, data collection, analysis, and the manuscript as a whole were prepared by K.A. Mahmoud and M.W. Marashdeh.

  3. Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

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

  5. Data availability statement: The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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Received: 2023-09-15
Revised: 2023-11-14
Accepted: 2023-11-15
Published Online: 2023-11-30

© 2023 the author(s), published by De Gruyter

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

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