Attenuation properties of lead composite aprons

Radiology. 1993 Jan;186(1):269-72. doi: 10.1148/radiology.186.1.8416577.


Traditionally, the absorption properties of protective aprons used in diagnostic radiology have been specified in units of lead equivalent thickness. This is appropriate and accurate when lead is the only high-atomic-numbered component in the apron. In an attempt to manufacture light-weight protective apparel, however, some manufacturers have included other elements with k absorption edges in the energy range of interest, to provide equivalent absorption properties with less weight. With these other high-atomic-numbered elements added, the lead equivalence of the apparel becomes a function of the photon energy. This must be recognized and specified by the supplier, because lead apparel is used in environments other than diagnostic radiology, where the shielding benefits may be substantially less than expected when specifications are based on the diagnostic x-ray energy range.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Clothing*
  • Gamma Rays
  • Humans
  • Lead*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Protection / instrumentation*


  • Lead