Wednesday, June 19, 2013

More on Using Plastics for Shielding from Cosmic Radiation

This past Monday, I wrote about using plastic to shield humans on spaceships from cosmic radiation. I contacted the corresponding author about the questions I had with the shielding degrading over time. The response I received was this:
"I wasn't able to divide the data into time intervals, as it was already quite statistics-limited. Also, the space radiation environment is not that bad, giving something well under 1 milliGy/day, so even over 2 years the plastic has probably integrated something less than 1 Gy from GCRs. Solar particles will have added to that, but the sun has been pretty quiet."

1 Gy of radiation is not a whole lot compared to the 25 kGy that is typically used to sterilize medical devices, but at the same time, it is enough to cause some damage. I need to do some more digging. Radiation damage of different plastics has been studied over the past decades and the results have been tabulated, so it is not necessary to hit the lab just yet. Off to the Library! I'll report back on what I find.

3 comments:

Sam Sirico said...

I am researching this avenue because I am getting involved in a research project at the high school level. It is s NASA based competition to design shielding for spaceships and astronauts for deep space long term travel. Did you find any tabulated data. I had seen some research in the integration of lead and plastic but I know weight is an issue.

Sam Sirico said...

I am researching this avenue because I am getting involved in a research project at the high school level. It is s NASA based competition to design shielding for spaceships and astronauts for deep space long term travel. Did you find any tabulated data. I had seen some research in the integration of lead and plastic but I know weight is an issue.

Sam Sirico said...

Did you ever find any tabulated data on this issue. I am interested because my students are getting involved in a NASA competition to design shielding for vessels and astronauts for deep space and long term travel. I have seen some data on the use of lead and plastic (beta radiation)but I know that weight is an issue. I am wondering about a plastic film with lead particles in it.