Industrial Applications and Materials Effects

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In the industrial area, high current electron beams are used in the manufacture of diverse products ranging from crosslinked wire and cable jacketing, as in under-the-hood automotive wiring and aircraft wiring, heat shrinkable tubing and food packaging films, tire components, and in the drying of inks, coatings and adhesives that are made from reactive materials which effectively eliminate air pollutants. Long lived isotopes, such as cobalt-60 (half life of about 5.2714 years) or cesium-137 (half life of about 30.17 years), or alternatively x rays derived from high powered electron beam accelerators, are used to sterilize medical devices and hold out the long-promised hope for sanitizing food and eliminating food-borne pathogens such as e-coli and salmonella, which have caused numerous illnesses and deaths resulting in costly recalls of meats, produce, eggs, etc.

The CIRMS Industrial Applications and Materials Effects (IAME) subcommittee deals with diverse uses of ionizing radiation in a myriad of industrial processes. For the most part, these are high speed, energy efficient processes. There are over 1700 high current electron beam accelerators used by industry to produce value added products, whose cumulative value has been estimated at least $75 billion US dollars. The insulation and jacketing on wire and cable are EB crosslinked to enhance flame retardancy, such as in under-the-hood wiring and aircraft wiring. Tire manufacturers use EB processing in order to control the placement and stability of tire cords when they are molded into a finished tire. Heat shrinkable tubing is used to protect electrical connections; heat shrinkable wrap-around materials protect the connections in the telecommunications industry. Impervious food packaging films that recover their original shape upon heating are produced using EB crosslinking. Low-energy, self-shielded units are used to convert reactive liquid materials to produce dry inks, coatings and adhesives with near-zero volatile organic emissions, a “green” process technology. Pathogens on medical devices or in or on foodstuffs are eliminated by using ionizing radiation from either radioactive cobalt-60 sources or electron beams. The FDA and USDA have approved the use of this technology in order to protect the food supply and increase food safety. The development of very powerful electron beam accelerators has made x rays derived from these sources a viable alternative to isotope use in the industrial area. Irradiation in the space environment and of the effects of radiation on the containment vessels of nuclear power plants are also concerns of this subcommittee. Background on the overall metrology areas of interest in the industrial area is in Appendix G. The Industrial Applications and Materials Effects MPD’s are listed below. One page descriptions of the active MPDs follow in a separate section. These present the objectives, some background information and needs in each active area.


List of contacts List of Funding Sources Academic Resources Points of Contacts Overlying Regulatory Rules Pressing Issues this Year Discuss Breakout of Food Irradiation Community

Emerging Research Areas - IAME:

  • Plastic Impregnation of Cellulose-Based Materials
  • Radiation-Degraded Cellulose-Based Materials for Producing Ethanol
  • Radiation Curing of 3-D Printed Polymer Systems
  • Low electron dosimetry
  • New sources of radiation
  • Dose Rate effects on Materials and Biologics

2018 Discussion Topics

D.18.1 Forum for Access to Specialty Tools in IRMS


Active MPD's - IAME:

  • specific action items are active for consideration by the community

(draft form - proposed 4.27.15) Roadmap to Resource Gammacell 220 Irradiators

D.9.1 Low Alpha Standard

D.3.4 Radiation Hardness Testing and Mixed-Field Radiation Effects

D.5.3 Medical Device Sterilization

D.6.1 Pollution Prevention (P2)

D.7.3 Food Irradiation

D.8.1 Low-voltage Electron Beam and X-ray Dosimetry (80 to 300 KeV)

E.5.0* Traceability of Neutron Cross Sections, Measurements, and Detector Development (Joint MPD with Homeland Security)

Proposed MPD's (as of October 2012):

D.8.2 High-energy Electron Beam Dosimetry (> 300 KeV)

D.9.1 Fast Neutron Reactor Research and Development

D.9.2 Reprocessing of Used Nuclear Fuel

D.9.3 Link Absorbed Dose and Irradiation Temperature to Properties of Polymeric Materials (Joint MPD with Medical Applications)

D.10.0 Positronium Production

Watchlist - IAME

  • all action items have been completed or are inactive

D.1.0 (Watchlisted in 2011) High-Dose Calibrations for Electron-Beam Processing

D.2.0 (Watchlisted in 2011) Radiation Measurements for Gamma-Radiation Processing

D.4.4 (Watchlisted in 2012) Neutron Dosimetry for Reactor Pressure Vessel Surveillance