Not so long ago, British scientists found that Chernobyl mushrooms can be actively used to protect against cosmic radiation. An even more revolutionary approach is suggested by American researchers. In their opinion, the problem of ionizing radiation can be solved using ordinary rust.
Ionizing radiation has a penetrating effect, passing through the hull of a spaceship. To counter it, protective shields are used. Most often, an aluminum block is installed around the most important devices, which is considered the best compromise between the weight of the shield and protection. The new method is based on mixing the powder of oxidized metal (ordinary rust) with a polymer, and then incorporating it into a common coating on appropriate electronics.
“Our approach can be used to maintain the same level of radiation protection and reduce weight by 30%, or you can maintain the same weight and improve protection by 30% compared to the most commonly used shielding methods. In any case, our approach reduces the amount of space occupied by shielding,” the scientists explain.
According to calculations, the addition of a metal oxide powder reduces the gamma radiation of electronics by 300 times, and neutron – by 225%. Moreover, such a coating has a lower weight and provides 30% higher absorption of radiation in computer simulation.
It is equally important, according to the researchers, that using ordinary rust is much cheaper than the same amount of pure metal by weight. Scientists continue to improve the technology and are looking for partners who will be interested in its commercial use.