Tips For Monitoring Your Radiation Cable Insulation
Although you may have all of your radiation cabling inspected on an annual basis, understanding the signs of wear and impending failure are still essential. You need to be able to recognize any potential trouble signs early so that you can replace worn or damaged cabling as it reaches the end of its usable life and no longer provides the shielding necessary to prevent radiation from seeping around the cables. Here's a look at some of the indicators you should be watching for between your professional inspections.
Chemical Composition Changes
When your radiation cabling is exposed to heat ranges that are higher than the cable insulation is rated for, that temperature increase can lead to changes in the chemical composition of the cable. Those changes may cause the polymers and other components inside the insulation to gel, crystallize or deteriorate. Over time, the age of the cabling and the heat damage can actually cause the insulation to fail, allowing radiation seepage from the cabling.
If you want to be able to monitor the chemical composition of your cabling insulation, you'll want to invest in specialty testing equipment like spectroscopes and other similar tools. These scopes check for new chemical bonds such as those caused by oxidation due to aging. Other testing equipment can monitor heat transfer through the insulation, helping you identify the deterioration of the molecules inside the insulation.
Physical Composition Differences
Visible, physical changes in the cabling can also occur as it ages and begins to deteriorate. Thorough inspections of the lengths of radiation cabling can help you monitor the physical signs of wear between your routine inspections. Look for bubbling, thinning, cracks and softening in the insulation layer. Any of these things can be an indication that there's deterioration in the protective barrier formed by the insulation.
You may find that the insulating layer becomes softer, more pliable or even physically twisted or bound up. If this happens, you're risking permanent damage to the cables that may permit radiation to seep through that insulating layer.
Test the structural integrity of the insulation with an indentation test. This uses a small probe applied against the surface of the insulation, and the probe tests the amount of pressure required to push that insulating barrier to a predefined level. When the pressure required is below the standard for the cable you've installed, that's a sign that it's time to replace the cabling.
When you do determine that your radiation cabling has reached the end of its usable life, it's time to invest in new material. Consider working with a cabling supplier who can install durable insulated cable in your system. Having the cable replaced professionally will reduce the risk of any unintentional radiation exposure. Look for new cables with insulation like Tefzel insulators for your new installation.