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The radioactivity of thorium incandescent gas lantern mantles

Hassan, Halmat Jalal and Hashim, Suhairul and Mohd. Sanusi, Mohamad Syazwan and Bradley, David Andrew and Alsubaie, Abdullah and Tenorio, Rafael Garcia and Bakri, Noor Fitriah and Mohd. Tahar, Rozman (2021) The radioactivity of thorium incandescent gas lantern mantles. Applied Sciences (Switzerland), 11 (3). pp. 1-11. ISSN 2076-3417


Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/app11031311


The use of thorium in providing the intense white luminescence emitted from gas mantles, has a history of some 130 years, the initial application pre-dating by several decades large-scale urban electric lighting. Accordingly, the thoriated gas mantle has proved itself to be of enormous utility, remaining popular in more rural areas well into the 20th century, continuing to enjoy use in campsites and street night markets lanterns until today. The discovery of thorium in 1828 preceded the discovery of radioactivity, with subsequent little appreciation initially of any potential harm from exposure to radioactivity. Study has been made herein of small quantities of five different types of the thoriated gas mantle, all purchased online devoid of any control measures. Several approaches were used concerning the232Th activity and dose consequence. First, the activity of232Th was estimated using an HPGe detector, with sample M5 providing the greatest activity at 1.25 × 104 Bq, exceeding the exemption limit for thorium in a mantle. Compared to sample M5, samples M1 to M4 were low in radioactivity, from 5.1 ± 1.31 to 16.33 ± 1.92 Bq. Moreover, the thorium content in M5 constituted 50% of the mantle mass, somewhat greater than previous literature values. The dose equivalent rate on the surface of a single M5 mantle was found to be 0.68 µSv/h, while at the surface of a pack of six the level was 1.9 µSv/h. Monte Carlo simulation codes have been used to obtain organ equivalent and effective dose rates, the greatest close contact (10 cm) exposure to an unlit mantle being to the thymus, at 0.68 µSv/h and 0.62 µSv/h for a male and female phantom respectively. Accordingly, with packages of thoriated gas mantles potentially giving rise to non-negligible equivalent doses, greater incorporation of controls on the sale of such items in national radiation protection legislation would seem worthy of consideration.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Gas lantern mantle, Monte Carlo simulation
Subjects:Q Science > QC Physics
ID Code:94874
Deposited By: Widya Wahid
Deposited On:30 Apr 2022 06:21
Last Modified:30 Apr 2022 06:21

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