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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE

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High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding


KN Volmink
Word Count 2981

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

Individual Assignment A
(a) Discuss the selection of constituent materials for high density concretes. (b) Discuss the production, placing, compaction and quality control for high density concrete. (c) Describe and discuss an application for high density concrete, highlighting any problems encountered. Overall maximum length 4,500 words (excluding report title page, contents, reference list and appendices) with each diagram, figure etc. within the main text to count as 150 words. Number of words or word equivalents should be declared on the title page. Key diagrams, figures etc. should not be relegated to appendices. In submitting your assignment report you are declaring that all the content is entirely your own work except where indicated (by appropriate citation) that it is the work of others.

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

ABSTRACT
The use of high density concrete for radiation shielding requires a basic understanding of radiation coupled with an in depth knowledge of concrete technology. Understanding the different types of radiation and its behaviour informs which properties of concrete best deflect, slow, and absorb the radiation particles. Knowing how to optimise these properties through concrete technology results in high density concrete designed and constructed to provide radiation shielding capabilities. Despite the excellent radiation shielding capabilities of high density concrete thermal and irradiation effects still cause deterioration. Therefore the concrete used in radiation shielding structures must be monitored regularly for integrity.

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page No 1.
1.1 1.2 1.3

INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 1
Radiation Shielding ................................................................................................. 1 Objectives ............................................................................................................... 1 Scope ...................................................................................................................... 1

2.
2.1 2.2

RADIATION FUNDAMENTALS .................................................................... 2


Types of Radiation .................................................................................................. 2 Radiation Attenuation .............................................................................................. 2

3.
3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5

SELECTION OF CONSTITUENT MATERIALS ............................................ 4


Introduction ............................................................................................................. 4 Natural Aggregates ................................................................................................. 4 Manufactured Aggregates ....................................................................................... 5 Binder...................................................................................................................... 5 Admixtures .............................................................................................................. 5

4.
4.1

PRODUCTION, PLACING, COMPACTION AND QUALITY CONTROL ...... 6


Production ............................................................................................................... 6 4.1.1 Storage and Handling ................................................................................ 6 4.1.2 Mixing and transporting.............................................................................. 6 Placing .................................................................................................................... 6 4.2.1 Conventional Placement ............................................................................ 6 4.2.2 Pre-placed Aggregate Method ................................................................... 6 Compaction ............................................................................................................. 7 Quality Control ........................................................................................................ 7

4.2

4.3 4.4

5.
5.1 5.2

CONCRETE DETERIORATION IN RADIATION SHIELDING ...................... 8


Temperature Effects ................................................................................................ 8 Irradiation ................................................................................................................ 8

6. 7.

SUMMARY .................................................................................................... 9 REFERENCES ............................................................................................ 10

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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Aggregates used in High Density Concrete Goodman (2009), Miller (2003) and Volkman (2006) .............................................................................................................. 4

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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

1.
1.1

INTRODUCTION
Radiation Shielding
Shielding is required to protect people and the environment from the effects of radiation. Radiation exposure effects on humans consist of radiation sickness, cataracts, sterility, genetic mutations, coma, cancer, and death depending on the amount and length of time of the exposure. (HS Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1991) Radiation shields are designed and constructed to capture all primary and secondary radiation emitted by a source. The mechanics of a shield can be viewed, fundamentally, as the probabilistic occurrence that a neutron or photon will interact with a sufficient number of atoms, which will deflect, slow, and absorb the particles, without leakage of secondary radiation. (Volkman, 2006) As a result the higher the density of the concrete used for shielding (i.e. the more atoms in the concrete per unit volume) the greater the probability that neutrons or photons will be attenuated.

1.2

Objectives
The objective of this report is to discuss the selection of the constituent materials as well as the production, placement, compaction and quality control of High Density Concrete (HDC) used in radiation shielding.

1.3

Scope
High density concrete has been used successfully in various applications such as ballasts, counterweights and armouring however this report is limited to use of high density in radiation shielding.

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

2.
2.1

RADIATION FUNDAMENTALS
Types of Radiation
Volkman (2006) states that the process of altering atoms to achieve stability is called radioactivity. If the radioactive particles or energy have the ability to interact and alter the structure of atoms of biological tissue, this is called ionizing radiation. Only ionizing radiation needs shielding, and the two major categories are as follows: Electromagnetic waves Nuclear particles The ionizing electromagnetic waves consist essentially of X-rays and gamma rays. Gamma rays are similar to X-rays but are usually thought to have higher energy levels (more cycles per second). The particle component of electromagnetic waves is called a photon, and this term is essentially interchangeable with x-rays and gamma rays. (Volkman, 2006) Nuclear particles alpha, beta, and neutron are the three listed particles representative of the usual type of ionizing radiation requiring shielding. (HS Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1991) Radiation from these particles must be shielded to address health, safety, and environment issues. (HS Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1991)

2.2

Radiation Attenuation
How a beam of radiation is attenuated as it passes through matter applies equally to both neutrons and photons. (Shultis & Faw, 2002) A radiation source emits a fast neutron into its concrete shield. Heavy materials, such as magnetite or steel, contain large nuclei from iron, which are big targets for emitted neutrons. Such materials are often used in concrete shields to increase the probability that the neutron will collide rapidly and multiple times in its path through the shield. Simply stated, the chance of hitting the big atom of a heavy element is much greater than hitting a small atom of a light element. The fast neutron impacts and bounces off the nucleus in a process called inelastic scattering. The neutron particle remains an entity from this type of collision, but photons are released from the interaction. Energy loss occurs as a result of numerous interactions as the deflected travel path slows the neutron. (Shultis & Faw, 2002) Eventually, the neutron slows enough for the physics of another attenuation mechanism to prevail. Intermediate energy neutrons have a propensity for retention in the nucleus of atoms. Light elements, such as hydrogen, are particularly adept at retention of neutrons in this energy range. However, the neutron retention is not an absorption process because the particle impacts the receptive nucleus with sufficient energy to cause the release of another neutron from that nucleus. The newly emitted neutron has significantly lower energy. Attenuation by this type of interaction is called elastic scattering. An abundance of hydrogen in a radiation shield increases the probability that elastic scattering will occur quickly after neutrons attain intermediate energy levels. (Shultis & Faw, 2002)
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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

Slow, low energy, thermal neutrons are absorbed by impacting the nucleus of an atom. The neutron is retained in the nucleus, and binding energy is released as secondary gamma radiation. Now, though, the target atom has an increased neutron count, making it an isotope of the element. The isotope may be in an unstable configuration, causing it to quickly decay into two different, more stable elements. Consequently, if a radiation shield contains certain elements, such as boron, that increase the probability of quick absorption, shield thickness can be reduced. (Shultis & Faw, 2002)

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

3.
3.1

SELECTION OF CONSTITUENT MATERIALS


Introduction
High Density Concrete is manufactured using aggregates, cements, water and admixtures just conventional concrete. As noted from the previous section the denser the concrete the greater its shielding capability. Therefore the correct selection of these constituent materials is necessary to ensure the desired concrete properties are achieved.

3.2

Natural Aggregates
The production of HDC necessitates the use of high density aggregates. (Alexander & Beushausen, 2003) This is also true for HDC for radiation shielding as high density aggregates contain large nuclei which are big targets for radiation such as neutrons. The large nuclei increase the probability that the neutrons will collide rapidly and multiple times in its path through the shield. (Volkman, 2006) Goodman (2009), Miller (2003) and Volkman (2006) list details of natural aggregates commonly used to produce HDC. The following table (Table 1) was compiled with this information and details the type of aggregate, relative density, density of the concrete produced as well as notes on the usage of the aggregate.

Table 1 Aggregates used in High Density Concrete Goodman (2009), Miller (2003) and Volkman (2006) Description Barite 4.35 4.45 3450 - 3600 Aggregate Particle Relative Density Concrete Density (kg/m3) Notes Be wary of chemical impurities. High-fines fines may cause set retardation. Avoid excess handling of coarse may breakdown in size. Good particle shape, highdensity fines but clean. Can have an effluent problem due to intense red colouration.

Magnetite

4.78

3500 - 3750

Haematite

4.89 5.02

4130

In addition to containing high density (heavy) aggregates, HDC for radiation shielding should also contain light aggregates. Naturally occurring light aggregates such as serpentine, goethite and limonite with a relative density ranging from 3.5 to 4.5 are known as hydrous aggregates. These aggregates enhance the hydrogen content of the concrete which moderate neutrons through elastic scatter and also absorb lower energy neutrons. (Volkman, 2006) The chemical properties of all aggregates must be thoroughly evaluated before use with due consideration given to chemical reactivity, particularly in highly alkaline environments as found in cement pastes. Also aspects of long-term durability such
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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

as alkaliaggregate reactivity, sulphate and chloride attack together with other impurities should be evaluated. (Miller, 2003)

3.3

Manufactured Aggregates
Manufactured aggregates used for radiation shielding typically consist of ferrophosphorous, iron or steel shot, and steel punchings. These aggregates have a relative density ranging from 5.8 to 7.6. Subsequently these aggregates are used to achieve concrete densities greater than 4000 kg/m3. (Volkman, 2006)

3.4

Binder
Cements suitable for conventional concrete may be selected for use in HDC however factors such as heat differentials and chemical reactivity with aggregates need to be considered. (Goodman, 2009) With fly ash blends however, reductions in water content and, hence, small increases in concrete density have been obtained. Due to the reactivity of lead with Alkali, high aluminate cement can be used if lead shot is used as aggregate. (Volkman, 2006) However consideration must be given to the moisture liberation at high temperatures of this type of cement.

3.5

Admixtures
The use of the normal range of additives is recommended with due consideration given to the cement type. It will be found that use of superplasticizers is beneficial in reducing water to minimize bleeding and maintain a cohesive mix that has minimum segregation. (Miller, 2003) Air-entraining agents help to control bleeding and settlement, improve workability and assist in obtaining more homogeneous concrete. However, entrained air will reduce the density of the concrete. (Goodman, 2009) Water-reducing admixtures will help to increase concrete density by reducing the amount of water, which is the ingredient with the lowest density. Shrinkage-reducing admixtures have been used for radiation-shielding concrete where dense, crackfree concrete is required. (Goodman, 2009)

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

4.
4.1
4.1.1

PRODUCTION, CONTROL
Production

PLACING,

COMPACTION

AND

QUALITY

Storage and Handling ACI304.3R-36 (1996) states that aggregate should be shipped, handled and stored in a manner that will prevent loss of fines, contamination by foreign material and significant aggregate breakage or segregation.

4.1.2

Mixing and transporting Special consideration should be given to the use and operation of equipment used in the production and handling of HDC because of its greater density as compared with normal weight concrete. Reduced mixer loading and longer mixing time are usually required for satisfactory results. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996)

4.2
4.2.1

Placing
Conventional Placement Placement of conventionally mixed HDC is subject to the same considerations of quality control as normal density concrete, except that it is far more susceptible to variations in quality due to improper handling. It is particularly subject to segregation during placement. Segregation of HDC results not only in variation of strength but, far more importantly, in variations in density that are intolerable for work of this type, since this adversely affects shielding properties. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996) Because of the complexity of forms and embedments, it is usually necessary to avoid pump or drop-pipe placement techniques in areas that are inaccessible to direct observation by workmen. However, in other accessible areas, if the mixtures are proportioned properly, they are pumpable and will pump better at a lower slump than normal weight concrete. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996) HDC usually will not flow in a form and must be placed in each discrete area and compacted in place with a minimum of vibration. Under no circumstances should an attempt be made to move HDC with vibration equipment. Lifts should be limited to a maximum 300-mm thickness. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996)

4.2.2

Pre-placed Aggregate Method The preplaced-aggregate method is particularly well-suited for use with concretes containing steel punchings or particles as part or all of the coarse aggregate matrix, because the steel particles tend to segregate easily when placed by conventional methods. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996) Washing, blending, and handling coarse aggregateFor HDC preplaced-aggregate concrete it is essential that coarse aggregate particles be thoroughly washed and be free of any undersized particles prior to placement in the forms to insure unrestricted grout flow through the coarse aggregate matrix. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996) GroutProcedures for mixing and placing high density grout are the same as those employed with normal density grout. However, because of greater tendency for segregation, line blockages are more frequent. Therefore, ample preparations
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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

should be made for rapid clearing of grout hoses and pipes, and ample standby equipment should be available. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996)

4.3

Compaction
Compaction should be by internal vibrators to achieve uniform and optimum density. In HDC vibrators have a smaller effective area, or radius of action; therefore, greater care must be exercised to insure that the concrete is properly consolidated. Vibrators should be inserted at closely spaced intervals and only to a depth sufficient to cause complete intermixing of adjacent lifts. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996) Vibration and re-vibration to remove entrapped air and to establish aggregate-toaggregate contact cause an excessive amount of grout to collect on the top of lift surfaces. This grout matrix (up to 75 mm thick) should be removed from the lift surface at the completion of each placement while the concrete is still in a plastic state. (ACI304.3R-36, 1996)

4.4

Quality Control
Because of the need to satisfy special requirements, testing and quality control are extremely important. In many cases, testing of the structure, including the removal of cores is not permissible. Care must be taken to ensure that good concreting techniques are used. (Goodman, 2009) A higher degree of quality control is needed, with fresh densities being frequently measured prior to mixes being placed. The use of these checks will often prevent what could potentially be very costly mistakes for a small volume of concrete or grout. (Miller, 2003)

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

5.
5.1

CONCRETE DETERIORATION IN RADIATION SHIELDING


Temperature Effects
High density concretes are susceptible to spalling at high temperatures due to its low permeability. The use of polypropylene fibres could be useful in controlling the deterioration due to high temperatures in concretes with dense microstructures. (Lima, Caetano, & Silva Fihlo, 2005) For high temperature applications, concrete should be made with heat-resistant aggregates to prevent excessive compressive strength loss and to avoid dehydration. If shielding requires aggregates high in fixed water, subjecting the concrete to lower temperatures would be important. (Volkman, 2006)

5.2

Irradiation
There are damaging effects to concrete used as radiation barriers from the scattering and absorption processes. Irradiation of concrete causes dissociation of water into its hydrogen and oxygen components. Compressive and rupture strengths both decrease with time due to radiation exposure and high temperature, although the effect is tolerable under normal reactor conditions. (Volkman, 2006) Volkman (2006) cites research conducted in Ontario where the following effects of radiation exposure on concrete were found: 1. The average compressive strength of the 20-year-old heavyweight concrete in the reactor shield increased in the same progression from the radiation source through the shield. The samples, taken closest to the radiation source, showed compressive strengths 10 to 20 % less than the samples extracted on the farthest face from the radiation source. The modulus of elasticity of the concrete shield also displayed variations (approximately 10 %) between samples on the farthest face compared with samples closest to the radiation source. The thermal diffusivity, which helps explain the rate at which a material undergoes temperature change, and the thermal conductivity, which is a measure of heat transfer through a material, were roughly 30 % less for the 20year-old heavyweight concrete shield samples as compared with the laboratory-tested heavyweight concrete specimen.

2.

3.

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

6.

SUMMARY
High density concrete has been used successfully for radiation shielding however this is only achieved through an understanding of radiation attenuation and sound concrete technology experience and practices. The understanding of how radiation is attenuated informs which properties of the concrete will ensure that this is achieved. Concrete technology advises how these properties are optimised and best accomplished through the selection of constituent materials and specification of construction practices. Despite the successful use of high density concrete for radiation shielding this application still pushes the material to the limit and thermal and irradiation effects cause deterioration. Therefore the concrete used in radiation shielding structures must be monitored regularly for integrity.

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT A HIGH DENSITY CONCRETE High Density Concrete for Radiation Shielding

7.

REFERENCES
1. ACI304.3R-36. (1996). Heavyweight Concrete: Measuring, Mixing, Transporting, and Placing. American Concrete Institute. Farmington Hills, Michigan: American Concrete Institute. Alexander, M. G., & Beushausen, H.-D. (2003, September 1). High-density Concrete for Special Applications. Concrete Plant Precast Technology, pp. 48-57. Goodman, J. (2009). High-density Concrete. In G. Owens, Fulton's Concrete Technology Ninth Edition (pp. 305-308). Midrand : Cement and Concrete Institute. HS Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory. (1991). Basic Radiation Worker Training. Los Alamos: Los Alamos National Laboratory. Lima, R. C., Caetano, L. F., & Silva Fihlo, L. C. (2005). Microstructural Changes of High Desity Concretes Exposed to High Temperatures. Concrete for Transportation Infrastructure (pp. 297-306). Dundee: Tomas Telford. Miller, E. (2003). High-density and radiation-shielding concrete and grout. In J. Newman, & B. S. Choo, Advanced Concrete Technology: Processes (pp. 5/15/15). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Shultis, J. K., & Faw, R. E. (2002). Fundamentals of Nuclear Science and Engineering. New York: Marcel Dekker Inc. Volkman, D. E. (2006). Concrete for Radiation Shielding. In J. F. Lamond, & J. H. Pielert, Significance of Tests and Properties of Concrete and ConcreteMaking Materials (pp. 570-577). West Conshohocken PA: ASTM International.

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