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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter August 22, 2023

Impact of WO3 and BaO nanoparticles on the radiation shielding characteristics of polydimethylsiloxane composites

  • Dalal A. Alorain , Aljawhara H. Almuqrin , M. I. Sayyed and Mohamed Elsafi EMAIL logo
From the journal e-Polymers

Abstract

In this study, we developed flexible composites using silicone rubber (SR) or polydimethylsiloxane as the matrix and WO3 and BaO nanoparticles as filler to analyze their radiation-shielding performance. The linear attenuation coefficient (LAC) values for the prepared composites were reported to range from 0.059 to 1.333 MeV by using the experimental method. At 0.059 MeV, the SR with 40% of BaO NPs possesses the highest LAC, followed by SR with 20% of BaO and WO3 NPs. The SRs S-2 and S-4 that contain WO3 and/or BaO exhibit continuously greater LAC values than the sample S-1. Numerically, the LAC for S-2 (with 40% of BaO NPs) is 1.6 times greater than that for S-1 (free BaO and WO3) at 0.662 MeV, while the LAC for S-2 is 1.47 times more than that for S-1 at 1.275 MeV. We examined the impact of the thickness of the prepared composites on the attenuation performance by studying the transmission factor (TF) at two different thicknesses (1 and 2 cm). For S-1 and S-2, the TF decreases due to the increase of the thickness from 1 to 2 cm. The TF for S-1 with a thickness of 1 cm is 75% at 0.059 MeV, while it is 56% (for 2 cm). We evaluated the percentage decrease in the TF at 0.059 MeV for every SR as the thickness changes from 1 to 2 cm. For S-3, S-4, S-5, and S-6, the percentage decrease in the TF is extremely significant varying from 98% to 99%. This suggests that increasing the thickness of these SR samples from 1 to 2 cm has a major effect on the shielding capabilities they possess, particularly at low energies.

1 Introduction

The application of ionizing radiation in industry and medicine (such as Positron emission tomography, diagnostic imaging, radiotherapy, etc.) has expanded globally in recent years as a result of significant technical improvement. But even at modest levels, many radiation types have unavoidable negative impacts on living beings, increasing the risks to people’s health. Consequently, the use of appropriate radiation shielding techniques plays an essential role in reducing risks to health and protecting people from risks associated with radiation (13). Over the past few decades, the need for effective and reliable materials has increased in response to these potential negative effects. Heavy metals like lead and tungsten have been widely utilized for many years to block ionizing radiation (46). The use of lead has been constrained in a number of practical uses due to its poor chemical stability, heaviness, and toxicity, as well as its detrimental impacts on human health. However, experts consider that it is important to identify suitable light-shielding materials in place of conventional lead shields. Regarding this, numerous investigators produced reinforced polymer composite materials containing high atomic number components that have high absorption abilities (710). There are many advantages of using polymers as radiation shielding materials. In comparison to more conventional shielding materials, they are lightweight materials. They are thus a desirable solution for uses where weight is an issue, for example, in aerospace or healthcare. In addition, polymers are flexible, implying they may be molded into different forms to fulfill the requirements of a wide range of applications. Polymers, in contrast to more conventional shielding substances such as lead, are non-toxic and acceptable for use in a variety of applications, including medical ones. Polymers are typically less expensive than conventional materials used for radiation shielding, which makes them an appealing choice for applications in which cost is a primary consideration. It is possible to adjust the characteristics of polymers such that they are suitable for a variety of radiation shielding applications. Investigators can improve the attenuation qualities of a polymer, for instance, by altering the chemical structure of the polymer to make it more or less resistant to a specific kind of radiation (1116).

Silicone rubber (SR) is a flexible polymeric substance that has found broad application across a range of sectors due to the one-of-a-kind qualities that it possesses. Because of its great chemical resistance, and electrical insulating capabilities, SR is a common material option for purposes in which elevated temperatures, harsh substances, or high voltages are involved. Considering its biocompatibility and its resistance to chemicals, SR is frequently utilized in the medical sector for the production of implantable medical devices. In addition, SR is utilized within the construction and electrical industries as an insulator and sealant, respectively (17,18). SR is an essential component of current industry and engineering because of its significant impact across a number of different markets. It is essential to include heavy metal oxides (HMOs) as fillers in the SR for improving the density of the product, and this may result in greater attenuation efficiency (19). When the density of the SR is increased, it becomes more successful at shielding gamma radiation, which ultimately leads to greater attenuation effectiveness. When compared to other HMOs, BaO and WO3 have high densities, allowing them to effectively block and absorb gamma photons. Also, because both W and Ba have high atomic numbers, we expect that a lesser quantity of these compounds (i.e., BaO and WO3) can offer a comparable degree of protection as a greater quantity of materials with a lower density. In contrast to lead, which is harmful to the environment and should be avoided for radiation shielding purposes, WO3 and BaO are non-hazardous alternatives that can be used instead (2023).

Conversely, the topic of nanotechnology is expanding at a rapid rate and has a huge opportunity to change many different industries, including medicine, electronics, and radiation protection (24). Nanotechnology works with materials between 1 and 100 nm in size. Materials often have distinct properties on this scale that can be used in many applications. Many potential advantages come with radiation protection using heavy nanometal oxides. It is possible to embed nanoparticles into a wide variety of materials to improve the radiation shielding properties of those materials without significantly increasing the size or weight of the materials. This may be of paramount importance in situations where weight and space are limited, such as those dealing with space exploration (25).

In light of the previously mentioned information, this study aims to investigate the possibility of preparing SR for radiation shielding applications using WO3 and BaO nanoparticles. The impact of the concentration of WO3 and BaO nanoparticles on the gamma-ray shielding capabilities will be investigated in this study. The results of this study can help in the design of novel materials that are superior for radiation shielding uses across a variety of industries.

2 Materials and methods

New flexible composites were prepared to examine their shielding ability, SR or polydimethylsiloxane was used as matrix in this study while the WO3 and BaO nanoparticles were used as fillers in the compositions. A polydimethylsiloxane liquid was used with the chemical composition and physical properties found in the previous literature (26,27). The purity and the particle size of the used nanoparticles were measured by using EDX analysis and TEM images, respectively (28,29), as shown in Figure 1, where the purity was 99.8% and 97.3% for WO3 and BaO while the average size was 20 ± 5 and 30 ± 5 nm, respectively.

Figure 1 
               EDX analysis and TEM images of (a) WO3 nanoparticles and (b) BaO nanoparticles.
Figure 1

EDX analysis and TEM images of (a) WO3 nanoparticles and (b) BaO nanoparticles.

The flexible composites were prepared according to the mixing percentages given in Table 1. The mixture was stirred and placed in plastic crucibles of different thicknesses and left to dry to become flexible composites. The composites were exposed to different point sources (Cs-137, Am-241, and Co-60) that emit different energies ranging from 0.060 to 1.333 MeV to calculate the shielding ability of the present flexible SR composites with an HPGe detector (30,31), which was used to detect the incident gamma-ray photons.

Table 1

Chemical compositions of the prepared flexible composites

Code Silicon rubber (wt%) WO3 NPs (wt%) BaO NPs (wt%) Hardener (wt%)
S-1 100 5
S-2 60 40 4
S-3 60 40 4
S-4 60 20 20 4
S-5 Double layers of S-2 and S-3 (S-2 upper toward the source and S-3 down)
S-6 Double layers of S-3 and S-2 (S-3 upper toward the source and S-4 down)

First, the detector was calibrated before the measurements. Then, the count rate ( C 0 ) produced from the recorded photons of all energies was calculated at a fixed distance from the source to detector. Then, the flexible SR composite was placed at a calibrated distance between the detector and the source in the same position as the source, as shown in Figure 2, and the count rate ( C ) for each composite with thickness ( x ) was calculated. From the count rate, the linear attenuation coefficient (LAC) can be experimentally calculated as follows (3234):

(1) LAC = 1 x ln C 0 C

Figure 2 
               The experimental setup for determining the LAC of fixable SR composites.
Figure 2

The experimental setup for determining the LAC of fixable SR composites.

The other important shielding factors such as half- and tenth-value layers (HVL, TVL) and radiation shielding efficiency (RSP) can be expressed based on experimental values of count rates by the following equations (3537):

(2) HVL = ln ( 2 ) LAC

(3) TVL = 1 LAC

(4) RSP , % = 1 C C 0 × 100

3 Results and discussion

In this study, we explored the radiation shielding capabilities of SR with various percentages of WO3 and BaO. Four different SR samples S-1, S-2, S-3, and S-4 were prepared, and each has a unique ratio of WO3 and BaO in its composition.

3.1 Stress–strain curve

Before the shielding performance test, the stress–strain curve of the presented flexible composites is shown in Figure 3. The results showed that all prepared composites are flexible despite the addition of WO3 and BaO nanoparticles. The highest elasticity was observed for pure SR (S-1), and it was found that the addition of WO3-NPs gives better elasticity than the addition of BaO-NPs to SR, but both percentages added together with matrix materials (S-4) gave elasticity better than WO3-NPs when added individually. The maximum strains before cutting the sample or splitting it as a result of the applied stress were 209%, 128%, 104%, and 152% for S-1, S-2, S-3, and S-4, respectively.

Figure 3 
                  Stress–strain curve of advanced SR samples.
Figure 3

Stress–strain curve of advanced SR samples.

3.2 Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

SEM was used to display the distribution of both WO3-NPs and BaO-NPs as fillers in the SR, as shown in Figure 4. It is clear that the distribution of particles was better with small sizes as shown in S-2, as small sizes can penetrate between particles and each other and fill voids in liquid SR, and this is the role nanoparticles play in terms of homogeneous distribution and penetration between particles and each other. This, in turn, leads to a greater chance of collision with the incoming radiation, and thus higher absorption. This is required to raise the material’s performance as a shield against ionizing radiation.

Figure 4 
                  SEM images of prepared advanced silicone rubber samples.
Figure 4

SEM images of prepared advanced silicone rubber samples.

3.3 Radiation shielding performance

We aimed to determine the effect of WO3 and BaO levels on the attenuation of gamma radiation, so we examined the radiation shielding performance of these different SR compositions. Additionally, we wanted to determine which SR composition is particularly efficient for use in radiation protection conditions. The first useful parameter that describes the radiation attenuation performance of the prepared samples is the LAC values. By using the experimental method, we measured LAC values for the SR with WO3 and BaO in the range of 0.059–1.333 MeV (Figure 5). It is important to note that researchers and manufacturers dealing with radiation shielding materials typically have as their primary objective the preparation of novel materials that have a high LAC for obtaining a medium that is ideal for radiation shielding. As shown in Figure 5, there is a drop in the LAC that corresponds to an increase in the energy level. The findings in Figure 5 support the idea that the LAC is primarily influenced by three key variables: the density and the composition of the shield, and the radiation energy. At the first examined energy (0.059 MeV), S-3 possesses the highest LAC (5.66 cm−1), followed by S-4 with a LAC value of 4.07 cm−1. S-1, which does not contain WO3 and BaO, has the smallest LAC value (0.29 cm−1), with S-2 having a LAC value of 2.44 cm−1. This suggests that an increase in LAC at lower energies is greatly influenced by the presence of WO3 and BaO in the SR samples. The LAC values for S2, S3, and S4 are quite comparable at higher energies (E = 0.662–1.333 MeV), with values spanning 0.148–0.157 cm−1 at 0.662 MeV and 0.099–0.102 cm−1 at 1.333 MeV. This suggests that at higher energies, the variation in radiation attenuation characteristics caused by the inclusion of WO3 and BaO is minimal. The SRs S-2 and S-4 that contain WO3 and/or BaO continuously exhibit greater LAC values than the sample S-1. This finding suggests that adding WO3 and/or BaO to SR samples improves their radiation attenuation capabilities over the energy region studied. We can emphasize the significance of utilizing WO3 and BaO as radiation attenuation compounds in the SR by examining the LAC values between S-1 (which is free of WO3 and BaO) and S-2. The LAC value for S-2 is much larger than that of S-1 at 0.059 MeV. When WO3 is added to the SR structure, an 8.36-fold improvement in the LAC is observed. The LAC values for S-2 are continuously higher compared to those for S-1 as the energy increases. In particular, the LAC for S-2 is 1.6 times greater than that for S-1 at 0.662 MeV, while the LAC for S-2 is 1.47 times more than that for S-1 at 1.275 MeV. These findings show that, although to a smaller extent than at the lowest energy level, the addition of WO3 to the SR composition still improves the radiation attenuation qualities at higher energy regions.

Figure 5 
                  The LAC values for S-1 to S-4.
Figure 5

The LAC values for S-1 to S-4.

We calculated the transmission factor (TF) for the SR prepared with WO3 and BaO, and the results are shown in Figure 6. At 0.059 MeV, S-1 (free of both WO3 and BaO) possesses the highest values of TF (75%), which implies that S-1 has the lowest attenuation performance. The lowest TF value (0.29%), which denotes the maximum radiation attenuation, is seen in S-3, which contains 40% BaO. The TF values of S-2, which contains 40% WO3, and S-4, which contains 20% WO3 and 20% BaO, show stronger radiation attenuation characteristics than S-1. All SR samples had higher TF values as the energy increased, which denotes lower radiation attenuation at higher energies. This pattern is in line with the LAC results that were previously addressed, which showed that the LAC values decreased as the energy increased. The TF values for states S-1, S-2, S-3, and S-4 are reasonably similar to one another at higher energy levels, with values varying from 93.2 to 90.48% at 1.333 MeV. If we compare the TF between S-1 and S-2, we found that S-2 has a much smaller TF than the S-1 (8% and 75%, respectively, at 0.059 MeV). This implies that the addition of WO3 in S-2 decreases considerably the TF at 0.059 MeV. However, the difference in TF between S-1 and S-2 decreases as the energy of the radiation increases. For instance, the TF at 1.333 MeV is 93% for S-1 and 90% for S-2, which means that the impact of WO3 on TF becomes less important at higher energies. According to these data, at low energies, the presence of WO3 in sample S-2 causes a large decrease in the TF, whereas, at higher energies, the difference between the two samples starts to diminish. The decrease in TF that occurs as a result of introducing WO3 or BaO in the SR mixture can be attributed to a variety of factors, namely the effect of absorption and scattering. When WO3 or BaO are included in the matrix of SR, the material can absorb more photons, particularly in the lower energy region. The presence of more electron shells and a higher atomic number in W and Ba in comparison to the other components in the SR matrix are responsible for the greater absorption.

Figure 6 
                  The TF for S-1 to S-4.
Figure 6

The TF for S-1 to S-4.

To study the impact of the thickness on the TF, we plotted the TF for S-1 with two different thicknesses (1 and 2 cm) in Figure 7, and for the two thicknesses of S-2 in Figure 8. The same behavior is found for the remaining SR, so we only show the results for S-1 and S-2. For S-1 and S-2, the TF decreases due to the increase of the thickness from 1 to 2 cm. This is to be predicted because a thicker specimen would more likely absorb or scatter photons, which would lower the TF. When the energy is smaller, the impact of increased thickness on the TF is more noticeable. For instance, when comparing the TF for S-1 at 0.059, we found that the TF is 75% (for a thickness of 1 cm), while it is 56% (for 2 cm). Whereas, at 1.333 MeV, the TF changes from 93.2% to 68.9% for 1 and 2 cm, respectively. This tendency is reported for the samples ranging from S-2 to S-6, demonstrating that the significance of the effect of sample thickness increases with decreasing energy value. The length of the path required for photons to traverse the SR samples doubles as the sample thickness increases from 1 to 2 cm. This causes more interactions between the photons and the atoms in the SR samples, which in turn increases the possibility of the material either absorbing or scattering the radiation. This explains the decrease in TF that was caused by the increase in thickness from 1 to 2 cm.

Figure 7 
                  The TF for S-1 with thicknesses of 1 and 2 cm.
Figure 7

The TF for S-1 with thicknesses of 1 and 2 cm.

Figure 8 
                  The TF for S-2 with thicknesses of 1 and 2 cm.
Figure 8

The TF for S-2 with thicknesses of 1 and 2 cm.

We evaluated the percentage decrease in the TF at 0.059 MeV for every SR as the thickness varies from 1 to 2 cm (Figure 9). For S-3, S-4, S-5, and S-6, the percentage decrease in the TF is extremely significant varying from 98% to 99%. This suggests that increasing the thickness of these SR samples from 1 to 2 cm has a major effect on their shielding capabilities, particularly at low energies. Even though the thickness is increased, the percentage decrease in the TF for S-1 at 0.059 keV is less obvious (only 25%) than it is for the other SR samples, which may indicate that S-1 has smaller successful radiation shielding capabilities at 0.059 MeV. The shielding ability of sample S-2 is significantly impacted by the increase in thickness, as seen by the fact that it experiences a considerable percentage decrease in TF at 0.059 MeV (about 91%). So, for the majority of samples, the TF at the 0.059 MeV significantly decreases as the thickness increases from 1 to 2 cm, with S-1 being the exception and exhibiting a smaller decrease.

Figure 9 
                  The percentage decrease in the TF at 0.060 MeV for every SR as the thickness varies from 1 to 2 cm.
Figure 9

The percentage decrease in the TF at 0.060 MeV for every SR as the thickness varies from 1 to 2 cm.

Moreover, we evaluated the percentage decrease in the TF at 0.662 MeV for every SR as the thickness varies from 1 to 2 cm (Figure 10). The percentage decrease in the TF, ranging from 9.3% to 14.7% for all SR samples at 0.662 MeV, seems less significant than it is for the first energy (0.059 MeV). This shows that at 0.0662 MeV, the effect of increasing the thickness from 1 to 2 cm on the radiation shielding qualities is less important. Among the samples, S-1 shows the least amount of TF reduction (9.4%), confirming that it has less effective radiation shielding. The percentage decreases in TF for SR-2 to SR-6 range from 13.3% to 13.9%, which is fairly consistent. This suggests that at this energy level, the thickness increase has the same effect on their shielding effectiveness.

Figure 10 
                  The percentage decrease in the TF at 0.662 MeV for every SR as the thickness varies from 1 to 2 cm.
Figure 10

The percentage decrease in the TF at 0.662 MeV for every SR as the thickness varies from 1 to 2 cm.

We prepared double-layer SR samples: S-5 and S-6, where S-5 is made of two layers containing S-2 and S-3 (S-2 upper toward the source and S-3 down), while S-6 is made of two layers containing S-2 and S-3 (S-3 upper toward the source and S-2 down). We compared the TF of S-2, S-3, S5, and S-6 to determine the effect of using a double layer on the transmission of the photons via the prepared SR (Figure 11). At 0.059 MeV, the TF is higher for the two-layer SR (S-5 and S-6) in comparison to the one-layered A-3. But the TF for S-5 and A-6 is lower than S-2. This suggests that the combinations of two layers have a positive influence on TF at 0.059 MeV in comparison to S-3, but does not reach the quality of S-2. Comparing S-5 and S-6 at 0.059 MeV, the TF is lower for S-6 than S-5. This means that having S-2 (with 40% of WO3) as the upper layer and S-3 (with 40% of BaO) as the lower layer is more efficient in shielding the photons with an energy of 0.059 MeV. For E ≥ 0.0662 MeV, the TF for S-5 and S-6 are close to that for S-2 and S-3. This suggests that the order of the layers does not remarkably affect the TF. We can conclude from Figure 11 that compared to the single-layered S-3, the double-layered samples S-5 and S-6 show better TF, especially in the low-energy region. S-5 has a greater TF than S-6 at 0.059 MeV, indicating that the arrangement of the layers might affect the transmission qualities.

Figure 11 
                  The TF for S2, S-3, S-5, and S-6 (thickness, 1 cm).
Figure 11

The TF for S2, S-3, S-5, and S-6 (thickness, 1 cm).

The HVL, which measures the material’s radiation attenuating capacity, is the thickness of the material needed for lowering the radiation intensity by 50%. We plotted the HVL for S-1 to S-4 in Figure 12. The highest HVL is found for S-1 at all the examined energies, varying from 2.37 at 0.059 MeV to 9.90 cm at 1.333 MeV. This means that S-1 (free of WO3 and BaO) needs a higher thickness to attenuate photons by 50% compared to S-2, S-3, and S-4. Hence, S-1 possesses the worse shielding performance among the four SR samples, mainly due to the absence of HMOs like WO3 and BaO, which are recognized for their radiation-shielding qualities. On the other hand, S-2 has lower HVL than S-1 and varied between 0.28 and 6.70 cm at 1.333 MeV. This implies that S-2 is a better radiation attenuator than S-1, necessitating a thinner thickness to accomplish a comparable level of radiation attenuation. The improved efficiency of S-2 as a shield may be connected to its composition, which includes 40% WO3, an HMO that is well-known for its radiation shielding capabilities. At 0.059 MeV, S-3 has lower HVL values in comparison to S-2. This suggests that S-3 is more successful in reducing radiation at this energy; hence, a thinner layer is required to attain a decrease of 50% of the radiation’s intensity. The inclusion of barium in S-3, in contrast to the presence of tungsten in S-2, is one of the possible reasons for the superior performance of S-3 as a shielding material when compared to S-2 at this energy. In comparison to W, the K-absorption edge of Ba is located at a lower energy, which indicates that Ba has a stronger capacity to absorb radiations with low energies by the process of the photoelectric mechanism. Therefore, the inclusion of barium in S-3 adds to its greater shielding efficiency at 0.059 MeV in comparison to S-2, which consists of tungsten. While sample S-4 has HVL values that, for E ≥ 0.662 MeV, fall somewhere between those of sample S-2 and sample S-3. The different sample compositions are likely responsible for the variation in the degree of protection they provide. S-4 consists of 20% WO3 and 20% BaO, compared to 40% WO3 and 40% BaO in S-2 and S-3, respectively. In comparison to introducing two HMOs at lower percentages (20% WO3 and 20% BaO), introducing WO3 at higher levels (40%) results in improved attenuation capabilities. As a result, the efficacy of the shielding provided by S-4 is somewhere between that of S-2 and S-3 owing to the presence of WO3 and BaO at a concentration of 20% each.

Figure 12 
                  The HVL for S-1 to S-4.
Figure 12

The HVL for S-1 to S-4.

Besides, we reported the mean free path (MFP) for the SR samples, and the results are shown in Figure 13. A lower MFP implies that the shielding is more effective since the photons have a greater chance of interacting with the material and becoming attenuated as a result of those interactions. When the MFP values for S-1 (without HMOs) are compared to those for S-2, S-3, and S-4, it is evident that the inclusion of HMOs considerably enhances the efficacy of the shielding provided by the materials. The HMOs in specimens S-2, S-3, and S-4 contribute, in many ways, to the efficiency of the shielding provided by these samples. Since heavy metals have more atoms, the photoelectric effect is more likely to occur when photons are of low energy. In addition, HMOs have very high densities, which means that there are a greater number of atoms per volume available to interact with the radiation that is being emitted. Additionally, HMOs have a larger electron density, which adds to an increased probability of either Compton scattering or pair production at higher photon energy. When compared to the MFP values of S-1, those of S-2 and S-3, which consist of much greater percentages (40%) of WO3 and BaO, respectively, are considerably lower. This shows that large amounts of HMOs serve a vital function in increasing radiation shielding in some way. Comparing sample S-4, containing 20% WO3 and 20% BaO, to sample S-1 reveals that sample S-4 displays superior shielding efficiency. But its MFP values tend to be greater than those of S-2 and S-3, which indicates that its general shielding effectiveness is not as effective as it is with the samples that contain 40% of a single HMO. Hence, when compared to sample S-1, which has no HMOs, the MFPs that occur from the inclusion of WO3 and BaO in samples S-2, S-3, and S-4 are smaller, and the samples’ ability to shield gamma radiation is improved.

Figure 13 
                  The MFP for S-1 to S-4.
Figure 13

The MFP for S-1 to S-4.

Finally, the present SR samples have been compared with other related flexible composites and are reported in Table 2. The comparison indicated that the present flexible SR impeded with both WO3-NPs and BaO-NPs has a good shielding material against gamma-ray radiation.

Table 2

Comparison of the present work with related published work

Flexible composite LAC (cm−1) HVL (cm) Reference
0.060 MeV 0.662 MeV 1.333 MeV 0.060 MeV 0.662 MeV 1.333 MeV
SR-BT40 5.042 0.164 0.114 0.137 4.235 6.073 (38)
SR-BT50 6.489 0.170 0.122 0.107 4.071 5.682
SR-50 mMgO 0.421 0.141 0.100 1.645 4.930 6.916 (24)
SR-50nMgO 0.614 0.186 0.128 1.128 3.720 5.405
SR-W50 3.911 0.197 0.121 0.177 3.519 5.707 (39)
SR-W60 5.501 0.237 0.142 0.126 2.928 4.884
S-2 2.516 0.159 0.103 0.275 4.363 6.704 This work
S-3 5.828 0.143 0.097 0.119 4.864 7.147
S-4 4.237 0.150 0.100 0.164 4.608 6.928

4 Conclusion

In order to evaluate their radiation-shielding capabilities, we produced flexible composites employing SR or polydimethylsiloxane as the matrix and WO3 and BaO nanoparticles as fillers. Utilizing an experimental technique, the LAC values for the developed composites were reported to range from 0.059 to 1.333 MeV. We observed a high increase in the LAC at low energy, which suggests that the attenuation performance of these composites is greatly influenced by the presence of WO3 and BaO. At higher energies, the LAC values for S2, S3, and S4 are quite comparable, which indicates that at higher energies, the variation in radiation attenuation characteristics caused by the inclusion of WO3 and BaO gets less important. We prepared double-layer SR samples (coded as S-5 and S-6) and compared the TF among S-2, S-3, S5, and S-6 to determine the effect of using a double layer on the transmission of the photons via the prepared SR. At 0.059 MeV, the TF is higher for the two-layered SR (S-5 and S-6) in comparison to the one-layered A-3. But the TF for S-5 and A-6 is lower than S-2. We concluded that the combinations of two layers have a positive influence on TF at 0.059 MeV in comparison to S-3, but does not reach the quality of S-2. The HVL results revealed that S-1 (free of WO3 and BaO) needs a higher thickness to attenuate photons by 50% compared to S-2, S-3, and S-4. S-2 has lower HVL than S-1 and varied between 0.28 and 6.70 cm at 1.333 MeV. This implies that S-2 is a better radiation attenuator than S-1, necessitating a thinner thickness to accomplish a comparable level of radiation attenuation.

  1. Funding information: The authors express their gratitude to Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University Researchers Supporting Project number (PNURSP 2023R57), Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

  2. Author contributions: Dalal A. Alorain: writing – original draft, formal analysis; Aljawhara H. Almuqrin: funding, formal analysis, visualization, project administration; M. I. Sayyed: formal analysis, visualization, writing – original draft, formal analysis; resources; Mohamed Elsafi: methodology, concept, writing – review and editing, formal analysis.

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

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Received: 2023-04-27
Revised: 2023-07-21
Accepted: 2023-07-21
Published Online: 2023-08-22

© 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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