Textile design for diagnostic X-ray shielding garments and comfort enhancement for female users

Maghrabi, H 2017, Textile design for diagnostic X-ray shielding garments and comfort enhancement for female users, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Textile design for diagnostic X-ray shielding garments and comfort enhancement for female users
Author(s) Maghrabi, H
Year 2017
Abstract X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool in the radiology world. Despite their usefulness, overexposure to radiation affects the health of those who are working closely with X-ray scanning equipment. Overexposure to high levels of radiation can cause large number of cells in the human body to die or to lose their ability to replicate. This damage can ultimately lead to organ failure. Currently lead aprons are the only primary protective garment used by radiation workers in hospitals and clinics to shield them from radiation. However, the commercial lead aprons currently available in the healthcare market have many problems; for example, causing user back pain due to the weight of the apron. These inflexible aprons can crack, compromising the user’s protection from radiation leakage, and the disposal of these aprons can pollute the environment due to the toxicity of lead. Also, commercial aprons at present are only available as a universal design for both males and females, and therefore are not designed to fit the female anatomical structure. This research aimed at developing a durable, safer and lighter textile substrate and garment structure that improves shielding and structural integrity. In this thesis, the comfort properties of lead aprons have been evaluated to establish a baseline for future assessment of new designs. The thermal resistance of commercial lead aprons is shown to be high, potentially affecting the heat stress of the wearer. A new method was developed to measure the pressure distribution of lead aprons as part of understanding the comfort performance of protective clothing. A range of textile fabrics that could be used as alternative casing for lead aprons were investigated with a view to enhancing the comfort properties of existing commercial products. Prototype aprons were developed to accommodate the different body shape of female radiographers with enhanced comfort properties. The prototype aprons will be used as a backing base for coating with non-lead-based X-ray absorbing substances that have the same shielding efficiency as the lead standard, but are safer for the environment and lighter in weight. Experimental results of fabric coating showed that microparticles of size less than 10 μm and resin can be homogeneously spread on the coating side of the fabric surface. When the coating is on one side of the garment and primarily on the surface of the fabric, the uncoated fabric side can be exposed as the surface of an apron. This may save half the weight of casing material for an apron. Different methodologies and woven and knitted textile substrates were used to develop coated materials with novel X-ray attenuating substances. This thesis found that the X-ray attenuating substance atomic number, density, mass attenuation coefficient, linear attenuation coefficient, atomic cross-section and other important factors can affect the attenuation strength and should be considered when designing X-ray shielding garments. As a result, the selection of radiation-absorber substances must be made carefully to combine all these properties. Bismuth oxide was one of the best selections and achieved the best result for shielding from X-rays. Novel prototype aprons were developed based on evaluation of the benchmark lead aprons in terms of comfort performance. The selected textile materials have reasonable flexibility and good overall moisture management properties through use of a wool yarn plated with nylon. Different designs were created to suit the needs of various female bodies, such as radiographers, pregnant women and female patients who are undergoing mammography. All the prototype aprons have been assessed for comfort properties such as fit and air gap size, thermal comfort, stiffness and durability. It was found that the prototype aprons show enhanced comfort performance compared to the benchmark.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Fashion and Textiles
Subjects Technology not elsewhere classified
Textile and Fashion Design
Materials Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) X-ray
Lead apron
Garment shielding
Comfort of lead apron
Design of lead apron
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Created: Fri, 17 Nov 2017, 11:32:40 EST by Adam Rivett
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