What is X-Ray?
X-ray is a type of electromagnetic radiation. However, unlike other electromagnetic radiation types, X-ray has higher energy and can penetrate through matters and objects. X-ray is ionizing radiation; the radiation is so strong that it causes free electrons to escape from neutral atoms, thus depositing its energy onto the material it reacted with.
X-ray is both beneficial and dangerous, depending on its use. The benefits of X-rays are numerous as they cut across many industries such as medicine, engineering, electronics, and many more. It is used for many purposes ranging from medical imaging to components inspection and many more. Among the dangers of over-exposure to x-ray are cancer and genetic mutations.
History of X-ray
X-ray was discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen, a German scientist, on November 8, 1895; therefore, X-ray is referred to as Rontgen radiation in some countries. However, it is important to note there have been researches and studies on the concept of radiation and x-ray before Rontgen’s discovery. X-rays remained unidentified radiation in many experiments preceding Rontgen’s, for instance, there were traces of X-ray noticed in the cathode ray experiments carried out in 1869. Also, researchers working on Crookes Tubes in 1875 reported radiation that exhibited some X-ray properties.
Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-ray when working on Lenard and Crookes tubes. However, unlike earlier researchers, he studied the radiation further and wrote a paper on it. The paper was titled “On a new kind of ray: A preliminary communication” and was submitted to Wurzburg’s Physical-Medical Society Journal on December 28, 1895. Rontgen named the radiation ‘X-rays’ to denote its unknown nature. Wilhelm Röntgen won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work and discovery of X-ray.
Uses of X-ray
X-rays are widely used in medical, scientific, and industrial applications due to their features. These features include the ability to pass through an opaque object, high energy, and short wavelength. Some of the uses of X-ray include:
Medical Body Imaging
X-rays are used to take images of the internal structure of the human body. This application allows medical personnel to see the internal part of the human body. Parts of the body that can be pictured using an X-ray include dentitions, bone structures, and internal cavity. Thus, the presence of a foreign object in the body can be noticed. It also allows for the diagnosis of cancer and fracture.
Investigating industrial Materials
X-rays are useful for checking the integrity of many industrial materials. It allows engineers to check the internal structure and composition of the material. An X-ray can be used to check for flaws and errors in the design, manufacture, and coupling of industrial components without destroying the component.
How Does X-ray Work
Some say that an X-ray is a type of radiation. However, in this case, it has higher energy and a shorter wavelength. When an X-ray machine is turned on, the x-rays are produced in a vacuum tube. In the vacuum tube, a high voltage reacts with the electrons released by a hot cathode tube. This reaction produces X-rays.
When the produced x-rays come in contact with the body or material to be inspected, two things could happen, the x-ray could either be reflected or absorbed, depending on the density of the inspected material. If the material is of high density, it will absorb the radiation, thus producing an image.
Importance of X-ray
X-rays are very important and have a lot of benefits. Some of these benefits include
● Excellent means of material inspection. It allows for the inspection of the internal structure of industrial materials and components without causing no form of damage to the material or components.
● It also allows for the observation of the internal structure of the human body, making the diagnosis of some disease and health conditions possible. X-ray allows doctors to diagnose cancer, fractures, and other forms of health conditions.
● X-rays can be used to treat cancer. The radiation can eliminate cancerous cells in the body.
Industrial Application of X-ray
X-ray is used for industrial applications in various ways. Primarily, it is most suitable for the inspection of materials and components. It is also used to check for flaws and errors in the coupling of industrial components. This is one of its most beneficial uses as it is difficult to inspect errors in castings without destroying some parts of the components. X-rays allow you to do this and many more.
The use of X-ray radiations for industrial applications is increasing every day with different options and applications coming to the fore. This has made the adoption of X-ray and X-ray machines a very important one in the industry.
X-ray machine for Electronics
X-ray machines are now getting relevant and increasingly popular in the electronics industry. They are used for different activities in the manufacturing and inspection process of electronics and electrical equipment.
X-ray machines are used for preliminary checks and inspections on leadless devices and assemblies. The process is fast, efficient, and allows for the easy identification of faults before manufacturing activities start.
Another use of X-ray machines in electronics is the easy resolution of quality issues. When x-ray machines are used to inspect electronic assemblies, it reduces or eliminates the need for destructive micro-sectioning and other additional costs. Also, X-ray machines have proven very valuable in the inspection, manufacturing, and repair of PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards).
X-ray machines are also being used in automotive and for automobiles. X-ray machines are used for the inspection of components and parts of the automobiles during and after manufacturing. This allows for quality checks and assurances before the vehicle is put out for sale. The reason for the use of X-rays is due to its ability to assess some parts that an average human eye will miss.
Also, X-ray machines are used by airport authorities and customs to check vehicles for contraband products or items. This is an effective approach as the radiation produced by the x-ray machine can penetrate the body of the vehicle, thus allowing the officers to ascertain the type of items in the vehicle or luggage.
X-ray Machine for Lithium Battery
An X-ray machine is also used in the production of lithium-ion batteries. In a process known as X-ray tomography, x-ray machines are used to inspect the complex systems combined to form a lithium-ion battery. This technique is also used to study the battery components allowing for the imaging of both solid components and liquid electrolytes in the battery.
Since the inception of its use, X-ray tomography has been an effective tool in the inspection and quality assurance of lithium-ion batteries. It has helped engineers and technicians understand battery operation and degradation. It has also helped in the production of quality lithium-ion batteries for the use of people.
X-ray machine for security
X-ray machines can be used for security purposes. X-ray machines provide a subtle, efficient, and safe means of screening people and vehicles for security reasons. Airports are known as the most popular user of the X-ray security system. X-ray allows security officers to identify weapons, explosives, and other harmful items without injuring or harming the person or the item being screened.
Apart from airports, other institutions and buildings are also using X-ray machines for security and screening purposes. Other governmental agencies such as the US Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration also use the X-ray machines for screening and security purposes. There is also no risk to the human body due to the use of an X-ray machine for screening. This is because the dose of radiation is small and too minimal to cause sizable damage to the people being screened.
Why are X-rays harmful to people’s bodies?
Due to the high energy and the ionizing feature of the X-rays, they are deemed harmful to the human body. X-rays are capable of causing genetic mutations and alterations at the cell level. This can be attributed to the ionizing energy of the X-ray.
As X-rays can cause electrons to escape off a neutral atom, the same way they can cause some biological changes at the cell level. As a result of these changes, some mutations can occur in the human body causing some serious health issues.
Also, there are some indications that X-rays cause cancer. It is believed that X-rays allow the growth of cancerous cells and tumors in the body. It is important to state that the dangers associated with X-rays are as a result of over-exposure to it. If the exposure to X-rays is limited and regulated, there is a little chance of any of these adverse effects occurring.
How To Detect X-Ray Radiation?
Right from its early discovery has the detection of X-ray radiations been made possible. The first technique for detecting x-ray radiation is the use of photographic film, which was first used by Rontgen. The effect of the radiation on the photographic film will produce a blackish color or impression on the film, signaling the presence of X-ray radiation.
This technique is still widely used today for the detection of X-ray radiation, even in medicine. While some changes and modifications have been made to the use of photographic film, it is still one of the most popular techniques for detecting x-ray radiation.
Another means of detecting X-ray radiation is through the use of the Geiger-Muller Counter. This counter is able to detect x-ray radiations through the ionizing action of x-rays. This ionization is further combined with the application of high voltages, and this combination makes the detection and measurement of x-rays possible.
Another instrument used for x-ray detection includes scintillation counter, semiconductor detectors, and many others.