Demand increases for MagnaDense used loose and in concrete for shielding against neutron and gamma radiation in lab and medical environments.
Saving space and efficient attenuation of radiation
Martiens Slabbert, regional sales manager for magnetite, commented “MagnaDense is used since the 60’s in Europe. With efficient logistical solutions and the benefit of a customised material for efficient production of high quality and high density concrete, in combination with the benefit in use achieved by the thinner walls and space savings, the acceptance and demand has increased for MagnaDense in radiation shielding in Asia and the Middle East.”
The four most recent projects supplied in the region were placed in Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Australia showing that MagnaDense is an option on the global market. MagnaDense has a long history as a leading aggregate used in Europe and the Americas.
Neutron and photon shielding with MagnaDense
The recent supplied projects include both research facilities as well as medical radiation treatment facilities that benefit from the effective attenuation of MagnaDense. In the case of neutron shielding, generated as secondary radiation from proton particle accelerators, it is common to use different materials in layers or mixes (although MagnaDense has been used as a sole material as well in certain projects).
Initially, in one of the projects, a common misunderstanding about magnetite, perhaps derived from its name, prompted questions about whether it was magnetic and would cause issues with the equipment. This misconception was straightened out with documentation and facts about MagnaDense being Ferri-Magnetic and approved as an aggregate for radiation shielding according to the norm DIN6847-2. Furthermore, petrographic analysis of trace materials is also available to show no other trace elements will impede the effective attenuation of radiation.
Bricks, ballast and concrete produced with MagnaDense
A benefit when using MagnaDense is that the customer can use the product in their preferred solution, it is today used:
- To produce bricks
- For in-situ castings
- As loose ballast between walls in what is called the sandwich method
“It is a benefit that our customers are flexible and that they can work with the material in the same way as standard aggregates, only adjusting for the higher weight per volume unit. This makes it easier to change from standard concrete which is otherwise the most common solution. The thinner cross-sections achieved with MagnaDense provides other benefits for the construction with the decreased heat of hydration and reduced risk of cracks as an example, which is welcomed by the concrete producers. I believe we will continue to see an increasing use of MagnaDense in this region for radiation shielding” Martiens Slabbert says.
Ease of production with support from LKAB Minerals
MagnaDense concrete has the same structural strength as standard concrete and is produced with the same equipment but offers a higher density. The projects mentioned above had different density targets to accommodate the different designs and energies in the equipment used. Target densities, therefore, ranged from 3.5 -4.0 t/m3. With support from LKAB Minerals to find the right concrete recipes the projects supplied were, as expected, able to deliver according to the requirements.