Photon attenuation data of composite concrete with volcanic ash and face mask plastic as aggregates
The expanding applications of gamma radiation necessitate photon shielding materials to ensure humans are protected from excessive radiation exposure. Various shielding materials have been investigated for photon shielding capabilities and one of the most common materials considered is concrete. However, concrete materials have disadvantages that can be addressed by introducing composites. In particular, incorporating recycled plastic and volcanic ash into the standard concrete mix has been shown to improve compressive, tensile, and bending strength, reduced water absorption, and macro- and microcrack formation. This is promising in the local context with the voluminous plastic waste generated as a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic and the active volcanic activities in the Philippines. Recycling the waste from face mask plastic components (FMPC) and volcanic ash (VA) will be beneficial for mitigating waste. The present study investigated the photon shielding parameters of composite concrete with VA and FMPC as aggregates via EpiXS. Results showed that increasing the VA was advantageous for the mass attenuation coefficient (MAC) at photon energies beyond 300 keV. Moreover, this study confirmed that the VA contributes more significantly on the photon attenuation characteristics of the concrete samples than the FMPC due to the higher density of the VA component elements.