The development of radiation-based medical technologies, nuclear energy, and the ambitions of space exploration have greatly increased the incidence of human radiation exposure over the past decades. Given their exceptional radiation attenuating properties, lead-based materials have predominantly been used as the preferred shielding material for personnel and equipment. However, the toxicity and heavy weight of lead-based materials gives rise to the need for safer, lightweight materials with comparable shielding capacities.
Bismuth is one such candidate element to replace lead due to its high atomic number and much lower toxicity. Homogeneous dispersion of bismuth nanoparticles can be achieved by utilizing the matrix of a polymer composite. Additionally, polymer composites offer diverse properties such as flexibility, chemical and thermal stability, and low mass.1-3
This seminar will discuss the development of new, bismuth nanoparticle incorporated composites as a suitable replacement for lead-based radiation attenuation materials. First, the presentation will evaluate the attenuation ability of bismuth metal nanoparticles bound to cellulose nanofibers in a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) matrix.1 Next, bismuth titanate nanoparticles dispersed in epoxy resin will be discussed and compared to lead sheets.2 Then, a new polycarbonate composite embedded with bismuth oxide will be reviewed for shielding from commonly employed medical radiation sources.3 Lastly, the merits of incorporating bismuth nanoparticles into natural leather composite will also be addressed for the purposes of flexible personal protective equipment.4
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