Effect of Radiation on Industrial composites
Lamitex ® industrial composites supply a wide range of insulation duties for common electrical, heat exchange, and cryogenic industries. However, they are not often thought of for their ability to insulate against common radiation emitted by nuclear reactors and medical machines. Typically concrete, lead, steel and ceramic are the common materials for nuclear devices and nuclear waste disposal facilities. The areas of the facilities that consist of these materials are often seen as heavy and poor in corrosion resistance & mechanical properties. We aim to change that by offering composites that can reduce the weight of insulation while maintaining higher mechanicals when exposed to γ (gamma) radiation. All tests referenced in this blog were conducted using 60Co, which is a synthetic radioactive isotope commonly used in the medical field as a treatment for cancer.
Reactions to γ radiation can result in overall material degradation and have also been known to make certain materials porous or brittle. The brittle characteristics were observed the non-reinforced plastics such as PEEK and PTFE; directly effecting the tensile strength (Figure 3). However, the glass filament / epoxy resin (figure 2) and basalt filament / epoxy resin composites will actually increase in tensile strength & modulus after exposure to γ radiation. The latter also increasing in interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) as well (Figure 1). Basalt filaments, being igneous in nature, will outperform most reinforced composites when exposed to gamma radiation due to its high iron oxide content.
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Figure 1: Li, Ran, et al. “Effect of Î³ Irradiation on the Properties of Basalt Fiber Reinforced Epoxy Resin Matrix Composite.” Journal of Nuclear Materials, vol. 466, 2015, pp. 100–107., doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2015.07.037.
Figure 2: Li, Ran, et al. “Gamma Irradiation Aging of Glass Fiber Reinforced Epoxy Matrix Composite.”20th International Conference on Composite Materials, July 2015, doi:http://www.iccm-central.org/Proceedings/ICCM20proceedings/papers/paper-4316-4.pdf.
Figure 3Idesaki, Akira, et al. “Evaluation of Radiation Resistance for Organic Materials Used in Atomic Energy-Related Facilities.” Japan Atomic Energy Agency Quantum Beam Science Directorate Advanced Ceramic Group, www.hep.princeton.edu/mumu/target/RESMM12/idesaki.pdf.