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Half-Value Layer Calculation

The thickness of any given material where 50% of the incident energy has been
attenuated is know as the half-value layer (HVL). The HVL is inversely
proportional to the attenuation coefficient (m) and the two values are related by
the following equation. Since m is normally given in units of cm
-1
, the HVL is
commonly expressed in units of cm.

This relationship comes from the intensity attenuation equation.

It can be seen that if an incident energy of 1 and a transmitted energy is 0.5 (1/2
the incident energy) is plugged into the equation, the thickness (x) multiplied
by m must equal 0.693 (since the number 0.693 is the exponent value that give a
value of 0.5). X in this case is the half-value layer.
Example Calculation
What is the HVL for a material with a attenuation coefficient of 0.45/cm?

Radiographic Inspection - Formula Based on
Newton's Inverse Square Law
Radiographic Inspection - Exposure-Distance
Relationship

Where:
E
1
= Exposure at D
1

E
2
= Exposure at D
2

D
1
= Distance 1 from source
D
2
= Distance 2 from source
When producing radiographs, it is sometimes necessary to change the source-to-
film distance. Since the intensity of the source varies inversely with the square
of the distance from the source, the exposure must be adjusted. When the
exposure at one distance is known, this information can be used to calculate the
new exposure with the equation above. Since exposure is the product of time
and amperage, either of these variables can be substituted directly for exposure
in the equation.
Example 1) An exposure of 560 milliampere seconds produces an acceptable
radiograph at a source-to-film distance of 30 inches. What would the exposure
need to be if the source-to-film distance is decreased to 24 inches?
Solve the equation for E
2
, plug in known values, and solve.

Example 2) An exposure time of 1.86 minutes and an amperage of 5.6 mA
produces an acceptable radiograph at a source-to-film distance of 30 inches.
What would the exposure time need to be to produce a similar radiograph at a
source-to-film distance of 24 inches.
Solve for E
2
or in this case T
2
since only the exposure time will be adjusted.
Then plug in the known values and solve for the new exposure time.

Example 3) An exposure of 5.6 milliamperes with a 30 inch tube to film
distance produced a good radiograph. What would the milliamperes need to be,
if the tube to film distance is changed to 24 inches?
Solve for E
2
or in this case C
2
since only the exposure current will be adjusted.
Then plug in the known values and solve for the new exposure time.

spreads out as it travels away from the gamma
or X-ray source. Therefore, the intensity of the
radiation follows Newton's Inverse Square
Law. As shown in the image to the right, this
law accounts for the fact that the intensity of
radiation becomes weaker as it spreads out
from the source since the same about of
radiation becomes spread over a larger area.
The intensity is inversely proportional to the
distance from the source.
In industrial radiography, the intensity at one distance is typically known and it
is necessary to calculate the intensity at a second distance. Therefore, the
equation takes on the form of:

Where:
I
1
= Intensity 1 at D
1

I
2
= Intensity 2 at D
2

D
1
= Distance 1 from source
D
2
= Distance 2 from source
Note: This is the commonly found form of the equation. However, for some it
is easier to remember that the intensity time the distance squared at one location
is equal to the intensity time the distance squared at another location. The
equation in this form is:
I
1
x d
1
2
= I
2
x d
2
2

Example 1) Use Newton's Inverse Square Law to calculate the intensity of a
radioactive source at a different distance than the distance it was originally
measured. If the intensity of a Iridium 192 source was found to be 62
milliroentgen/hour 100 feet, what is the exposure at a distance of 1 foot.

Where:
I
1

= Intensity at D
1

I
2

= Intensity at D
2

D
1

= Distance 1
D
2

= Distance 2
Reworking the equation to solve for I
2

Substitute in the known values and solve for I
2

Example 2) A source is producing an intensity of 456 R/h at one foot from the
source. What would be the distance in feet to the 100, 5, and 2 mR/h
boundaries.
Convert Rem per hour to mRem per hour
456R/h x 1000 = 456,000 mR/h
Rework the equation to solve for D
2

Plug in the known values and solve

D
2
= 67.5 feet
Using this equation the 100mR/h boundary would be 68 feet, the 5mR/h
boundary would be 301.99 feet, and the 2mR/h boundary would be 477.5 feet.

Time-Current Reciprocity Calculations
Radiographic exposure is the product of the X-ray system current and the time
of the exposure. If it is necessary to change the current or the exposure time
while maintaining the overall exposure, the Law of Reciprocity can be used.
The equation for this specific case is:

Where: C
1
= Current 1
C
2
= Current 2
T
1
= Time at current 1
T
2
= Time at current 2
Example Calculation
An acceptable radiograph is produced using a current of 5mA and an exposure
time of 10 minutes. If it is necessary to use a current of 8mA instead of 10mA,
what does the new exposure time need to be to produce a similar radiograph?
First solve the equation for T
2
.

Substitute in the known values and solve.

Radiographic Inspection - Exposure-Density Relationship
When it is necessary to adjust the density of a radiography, a simple ratio can be
used to estimate the exposure necessary to produce the change. In the straight
line portion of the characteristic curves of many films, it can be seen that
doubling the exposure will produce a doubling of the film density. Therefore,
the following equation can be used to estimate the change in exposure needed to
produce a change in the film density. A more accurate calculation can be made
using the film characteristic curve and the characteristic curve must be used
when one exposure is outside the straight line portion of the curve.

Where: E
1
= Exposure 1
E
2
= Exposure 2
FD
1
= Film density at exposure 1
FD
2
= Film density at exposure 2
Example Calculation
If a exposure of 6.2 mA-minutes produces a film density of 1.5, what exposure
will produce a film density of approximately 2.5? Assume that both densities
fall on the straightened portion of the film characteristic curve.
Solve the equation for E
2
, substitute in known values and solve for E
2
.

Procedure for Using the Film Characteristic Curve to Adjust the Exposure
1. Locate the measured density (D
m
) on the
characteristic curve of film being used.
2. Record the relative exposure corresponding to
this density. Call this value E
m
.
3. Record the relative exposure that would produce
the target density. Call this value E
T

4. Compute the ratio R=E
M
/E
T
. This is the amount
the actual exposure needs to be adjusted to
produce the target density.
5. Compute the adjusted exposure by dividing the actual exposure used to
produce the initial radiograph by this ratio (E
a
= E
i
/R).

Magnification Calculations
Sometimes the distance between test specimen and image detector is increased
to obtain magnification in the
image. Magnification is especially
useful when parts being inspected
and their details are very small. The
farther the test specimen is from the
image detector, the greater the
magnification achieved. The
amount of magnification can be
calculated using the following
formula.
M = (a + b) / a
Where: M = magnification
a = distance from source to object
b = distance from object to detector

Example Calculation
Calculated the geometric magnification when the source to object distance is
80cm and the object to detector distance is 30cm.
M = (a + b) / a
M = (80cm + 30cm)/80cm
M = 1.375

Geometric Unsharpness Calculations
When performing an X-ray inspection, the geometric unsharpness of the
inspection setup needs to be taken into consideration, especially when using
geometric magnafication. The size of the X-ray tube focal-spot and the
magnification factors, namely the source-to-specimen and specimen-to-detector
distances, are used to calculate the geometric unsharpness of the inspection
setup. The allowable amount of unsharpness is controlled by specification
being followed. In general, the allowable amount is 1/100 of the material
thickness up to a maximum of 1mm (0.040 inch).

Geometric unsharpness or the size of the penumbra (Ug) shown in the image
above can be calculated using the following equation:
Ug = f * b/a
Where: f = X-ray generator focal-spot size.
a = distance from x-ray source to front surface of
material/object
b = distance from the material/object to the detector
When magnafication is not needed, the test specimen is usually placed as close
as possible to the detector and the source is placed some distance from the
sample to minimize the penumbra. A greater distance between the source and
the object will reduce geometric unsharpness. However, the intensity of the
source decreases as the distance increases. Therefore, the source should be
placed only as far away as necessary to control the penumbra. If the test object
is placed in direct contact with the detector (like is often done in film
radiograph) the following formula can be used that takes into account the
material thickness instead of the object-to-detector distance. This formula is:
Ug = f * t/d
Where: f = X-ray generator focal spot size
t = the thickness of the material
d = distance from x-ray source to front surface of
material/object
Example Calculation
Calculate the geometric unsharpness when using an X-ray generator with a
3mm spot size and the test component is 100 cm from the x-ray tube and 50 cm
from the detector.
First convert all lengths to like units. Then plug the known information into the
equation and solving for Ug.
Ug = f * b/a
Ug = 0.3cm * 50cm/100cm
Ug = 0.15cm

Defect Depth Calculation
The depth of a object such as a defect
can be determined by taking two
exposures with the source shifted in
second exposure. As shown in the
image, a marker is placed on the surface
of the component. Two radiographs are
produced with the alignment between the source and the specimen different for
each exposure. Using the following equation, the depth of the defect can be
determined by relating the shift of the defect to the shift in the marker in the two

Where: D = Defect depth
t = thickness of the component
S
D
= Shift of defect in the radiographs
S
M
= Shift of marker in the radiographs
Example Calculation
When radiographing a component with a thickness of 1.5 inches, a defect is
detected. A second radiograph is produced with sample shifted relative to the
center of the source cone beam. A penetrameter on the surface of the
component is found to shift 0.45 inch between the two radiographs. The defect
is found to shift 0.18 inch between the two radiographs. Determine the depth of
the defect.
Substitute known values into the equation and solve for defect depth.

Attenuation Calculation
The linear attenuation coefficient (m) describes the fraction of a beam of x-rays
or gamma rays that is absorbed or scattered per unit thickness of the
absorber. m basically accounts for the number of atoms in a cubic cm volume
of material and the probability of a photon being scattered or absorbed from the
nucleolus or an electron of one of these atoms. m is used in the following
equation to calculate the intensity of a narrow beam of penetrating radiation
after it has traveled a given distance in a material.

Where: I
x
=
the intensity of photons transmitted across some
distance x
I
0
= the initial intensity of photons
m = the linear attenuation coefficient
x = distance traveled
Using the transmitted intensity equation above, linear attenuation coefficients
can be used to make a number of calculations. These include:
the intensity of the energy transmitted through a material when the
incident x-ray intensity, the material and the material thickness are
known.
the intensity of the incident x-ray energy when the transmitted x-ray
intensity, material, and material thickness are known.
the thickness of the material when the incident and transmitted intensity,
and the material are known.
and the material can be determined be determined from the value
of m when the incident and transmitted intensity, and the material
thickness are known.