Radiation Shielding Calculations – The Basics

*This blog is part of a much larger pillar post.
Radiation Shielding Calculations
Our team of physicists understand the importance of accurately calculating radiation shielding in various industries such as medical, nuclear, and space.

In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of what radiation shielding calculations are, what factors affect them and the methods we use to calculate the proper radiation shielding for our shielding studies.

Types of Radiation Shielding Calculations

There are three main types of radiation shielding calculations: photon, neutron, and gamma-ray. 

Photon radiation shielding calculations involve photons, which are a form of electromagnetic radiation that includes light. A lot of individuals in the radiation shielding industry think that photons are defined as light, even though they aren’t.

Neutron radiation shielding calculations involve neutrons, which are uncharged particles. 

Gamma-ray radiation shielding calculations involve gamma rays, which are high-energy photons. 

Each type of radiation requires specific calculations to determine the effectiveness of the shielding material.

Next, we’ll discuss the different factors that affect our calculations.

Matter Fabs Enewsletter Signup

Factors that Affect Radiation Shielding Calculations

A number of factors can affect the accuracy of radiation shielding calculations, including the type of radiation, material used for shielding, thickness of the shielding material, occupancy factors, how long the radiation-omitting machine is running and the distance between the source of radiation and the shield after material use for shielding.

The Type of Material Used for Radiation Shielding

The type of material used for shielding can greatly impact the effectiveness of the shield. Lead, concrete, sand and steel are common materials used in radiation shielding, but they vary in their ability to block different types of radiation.

In fact, our patented shielding vault, the MatterVault, can utilize other types of radiation shielding media like sand, which is readily available and cost-effective.

Check out our blog about radiation shielding materials to learn more.

Radiation Shielding Materials

Thickness and Density of the Radiation Shielding Material

The thickness and density of the radiation shielding material also plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the shield, as thicker and denser materials will provide more protection against radiation.

How to Conduct Radiation Shielding Calculations

There are several methods used to conduct radiation shielding calculations, including hand calculations, Monte Carlo simulations, and direct measurement.

Hand Calculations

Hand calculations are simple mathematical equations that provide an estimate of the shielding effectiveness. 

It’s important to note that computer codes are included in hand calculations, as they’re just more complicated hand calculations.

Industrial Radiation Shielding

Monte Carlo Simulations

Monte Carlo simulations involve running computer simulations to estimate the amount of radiation that will penetrate a given material. 

Monte Carlo is in a league of its own due to the fact that it uses intense computer power to perform an actual simulation of particle interactions with materials.

Its accuracy is based on the human inputs of the material properties and number of particles you start with. The higher number of particles you simulate, the more accurate the calculations. This will also mean longer computation time.

Monte Carlo is the gold standard, but it’s only as good as the information you plug into. This means you need to be as accurate as possible.

Direct Measurement

Direct measurements are the most accurate and best if you are able to use equipment in a test chamber. To conduct direct measurements, you put different materials in front of a testing beam and measure what comes out the other side.



In conclusion, we hope you understand just how much radiation shielding calculations play a critical role in protecting individuals and communities from the harmful effects of radiation. 

Accurate calculations are essential for ensuring the effectiveness of radiation shielding materials and for reducing the risks associated with exposure to radiation. 

It is important to consider the different types of radiation, factors that affect shielding calculations, and the methods used to conduct the calculations when selecting and using radiation shielding materials. 

If you’re looking for more resources available for additional information on radiation shielding, check out the section below.

If you need help calculating the proper radiation shielding you’ll need, contact our team of expert physicists.

Additional Resources

Understanding Radiation Shielding

Radiation Shielding Materials Guide

3 Factors Considered by a Radiation Shielding Expert

Industrial Radiation Shielding 

Medical Radiation Shielding