Improvement of concrete shielding to nuclear radiations using barite mineral as fine aggregate
This paper presents findings of research conducted on improvement of radiation shielding in concrete while optimizing the thickness of concrete shields. Radiation shielding was studied for concrete wherein fine aggregate was replaced by Barite, which is a heavy mineral, having specific gravity in range of 4.0 to 4.5. Barite mineral was obtained from Barite quarries situated in Jamrud, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan. Influence of Barite on mechanical and radiation shielding properties of concrete was studied on concrete cylinders cast with water-to-cement ratio of 0.30 to 0.45. ASTM standard was used to compute compressive and tensile strengths of concrete. Radiation shielding potential of concrete was studied by subjecting concrete sections to Gamma-ray source (Cobalt-60). Additionally, ASTM standard was used to conduct Thermo Gravimetric analysis. The study concluded that compressive and tensile strengths decreased with addition of Barite by a maximum of 11.75% and 19.75%, respectively. Similar to ordinary concrete, reduction in mechanical properties was observed with increase in water-to-cement ratio. Results showed that shielding ability of concrete improved as a result of addition of Barite mineral in concrete as fine aggregate with 28.4% increase in linear attenuation coefficient. It is concluded that linear attenuation coefficient varies proportionally with variation in density of concrete. It is recommended that the optimum water-to-cement ratio of barite mineral infused concrete is 0.45 for the least reduction in mechanical properties with acceptable level of radiation shielding.
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