Most people have come across the term ‘x-ray’ at least a few times. It’s mostly known to be used in medicine, but that’s all we recognize as far as that’s concerned.
They are a type of electromagnetic radiation, just like gamma rays and radio waves. If you look at its history, you’ll find that it was discovered in a somewhat accidental way during different experiments around 1895. Since then, technology has improved, and today we can get the benefits of having x-ray machines.
There are many uses of x-rays you should know about.
These are fifteen ways they are used today.
1. Bone x-rays
The most known use of x-rays is assessing bones. The machines are able to indicate fractures, cavities, and other bone-related conditions. These procedures are non-intrusive, pain-free, and effective in indicating any internal issues related to bones.
2. Locating and treatment of cancers
We know that cancer cases have steadily increased over the past few years. This disease continues to affect millions of people across the world, and currently, there are still efforts being made to eradicate the different types of cancers permanently. Meanwhile, x-ray machines are used to detect cancers like breast cancer, and they are also very instrumental in radiation treatment.
3. Other diagnostic purposes
This radiation technology has also helped in indicating many other malformations in the heart, lungs, digestive tract, urinary tract, just to name a few.
It’s clear that the world of medicine has greatly benefited from the use of X-rays.
4. Inspection of industrial structures
The use of x-rays goes beyond medical use. It’s been key in checking for cracks, faultiness, and other details during an inspection in industrial radiography. This method is preferred because it is nondestructive. Therefore it penetrates through materials without changing the quality.
5. Food industry
Another area that has employed x-ray technology is the food industry. The rays are perfect for checking small details in the food to take not of contaminants. The machines also inspect the packaging during the process.
6. Space exploration
Space technology has incorporated the use of different types of x-rays. This has allowed explorers to enhance processes like transmission of information from earth to space crafts and vice versa, studying black holes, x-ray astronomy, and studying of other entities in the universe.
7. Body scanners
The scanners we pass through in areas like train stations have also been made possible through this technology. There are different types of x-ray machines, and here, they are beneficial in searching for guns, contraband, and anything that could be a threat to security.
8. Cargo and luggage scanners at airports
These are also used to make sure luggage and cargo contain items that are approved. The rays clearly transmit the images picked up onto screens where all items inside are shown. Security officers can either accept or reject items based on what is indicated.
9. Border security checks
While crossing borders on the road, there is a certain inspection procedure you go through. This is especially important for trucks carrying cargo because there have been huge concerns about drug smuggling across borders.
The use of x-rays is now being embraced at crossing points to make sure nothing illegal passes through.
10. Investigation of mummies
Studying mummified bodies is very crucial, especially in the field of medicine. This gives details on issues like the diseases that were most prevalent during those ancient times, which is part of a larger medical study for today’s world.
These processes were also enhanced by the use of x-ray technology.
11. Inspection of historical artifacts
X-rays give deeper details when it comes to art. This has been a breakthrough in preventing counterfeits from entering the scene. There are many people who would alter historical paintings and sculptures with the aim of making profits.
But with the use of this technology, underlying details like type of paint and brushstrokes can differentiate real from fake.
12. X-ray art
Many artists have been inspired by this type of technology. Some use the images produced by the machines as reference photos, and others have actually processed artistic images using these machines. The inspiration behind this type of art is to give a new, deeper perspective of how we view everyday objects.
13. Microscope technology
Traditionally, microscopes are used to observe very minute details of different things, whether its plant cells or skin cells. But with the combination of x-ray and microscope technology, a new type of microscope was developed to magnify different specimens.
14. Aircraft maintenance
Aircraft are very sensitive to details, whether it’s in the commercial or military field. There needs to be serious attention to detail to prevent any accidents.
As part of the maintenance, this technology is used to check for issues like structural damage. These could be corrosion, broken parts, and other common wear and tear.
15. X-ray laser technology
The merging of laser and x-ray technology has opened up the world of science to so many possibilities. It has allowed the capturing of very minute and sensitive processes like photosynthesis, which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Concerns and criticisms
There are advantages that come with the use of x-ray technology. We bank the fact that it’s very precise, nondestructive, and it has been very efficient in medial use, which is probably the main advantage.
But of course, it’s not free from any disadvantages. Some of the concerns are health risks they can cause, which include hair loss, burns, bleeding, and radiation induced cancers.
These concerns have actually led to the banning of some x-ray machines like shoe-fitting fluoroscopes, which were installed in shoe stores to assist in choosing the correct shoe fit for customers. After a while, serious side effects came up, which then led to the banning of these devices.
To date, x-ray technology still exists, and it’s safe to say that we have experienced more benefits than damages. In small doses, it’s completely safe to use, which is why they are still being embraced.
There should be no setback as long as the safety standards are met.