Ural federal university: UrFU Scientists Create New Construction Materials Protecting From Radiation

Scientists at the Ural Federal University have created samples of clay bricks that are able to attenuate ionizing radiation as much as possible – to a level that is safe for the human body.
“The bricks are alloyed with heavy metals – wastes from the metallurgical enterprises of the Urals. These substances have pronounced radiation-protective properties. Thus, we solve two problems at once. First, by adding crushed absorbers of ionizing radiation to the matrix, in this case from clay, we obtain building materials with the desired protective properties. Secondly, in this way we find a way to utilize industrial waste,” explains Oleg Tashlykov, scientific head of the project, associate professor of the Department of Nuclear Power Plants and Renewable Energy Sources of UrFU.

The ultimate goal of scientists is to develop a wide range of materials based not only on clay, but also cement mortars or concrete, artificial polymers with different chemical composition and concentration of absorbing substances. In other words, with specified protective properties that meet specific conditions (isotopic composition of radioactive contamination, types of radiation, etc.) at nuclear power plants, in radioactive waste storage facilities, as well as in medical institutions where diagnostics and treatment are carried out using X-ray equipment and irradiating devices.

“Tungsten is widely known to be the most reliable protection against gamma or X-ray radiation, but it is very expensive. Lead is cheaper but toxic. And, besides, it is plastic and in an upright position can slide under its own weight, forming holes in the radiation protection system and reducing its stability. Our materials are optimal in terms of radiation protection efficiency and ease of manufacture, strength, durability, cost. The latter factor is important, since today the contribution of biological protection to the cost of nuclear power facilities reaches 20-30%,” explains Oleg Tashlykov.

The uniqueness of the properties of the created samples is ensured by the fact that Ural Federal University scientists use high-precision computational codes and use for their experimental research the reactor plant of the Institute of Reactor Materials of the State Corporation “Rosatom” (Zarechny, Sverdlovsk Region), as well as the production technologies of the Sealing Materials Plant (Dzerzhinsk, region).

The products of joint activities are of great interest to domestic and foreign enterprises of the nuclear industry. There are plans to further study the mechanical and radiation-protective parameters of various natural substances, including those common in the partner countries of Rosatom (Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh), where nuclear power plants are being built with the participation of Russian specialists. It is natural that a significant contribution to the research was made by the postgraduate student of the Department of Nuclear Power Plants and Renewable Energy Sources of UrFU Mahmud Karem (Egypt). The research team counts on the attention and support of donor organizations.

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