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Industrial Applications

Since some ionizing radiation can penetrate matter, they are used for a variety of measuring methods. X-rays and gamma rays are used in industrial radiography to make images of the inside of solid products, as a means of nondestructive testing and inspection. The piece to be radiographed is placed between the source and a photographic film in a cassette. After a certain exposure time, the film is developed and it shows any internal defects of the material.

Gauges – Gauges use the exponential absorption law of gamma rays.

Electrostatic control - To avoid the build-up of static electricity in production of paper, plastics, synthetic textiles, etc., a ribbon-shaped source of the alpha emitter 241Am can be placed close to the material at the end of the production line. The source ionizes the air to remove electric charges on the material.

Radioactive tracers - Since radioactive isotopes behave, chemically, mostly like the inactive element, the behavior of a certain chemical substance can be followed by tracing the radioactivity. Examples:

Oil and Gas Exploration- Nuclear well logging is used to help predict the commercial viability of new or existing wells. The technology involves the use of a neutron or gamma-ray source and a radiation detector which are lowered into boreholes to determine the properties of the surrounding rock such as porosity and lithography.

Road Construction - Nuclear moisture/density gauges are used to determine the density of soils, asphalt, and concrete. Typically a Cesium-137 source is used.

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