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Source: The post is based on the article “Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute (AMPRI), Bhopal Converts Red Mud into X-ray shielding tiles” published in PIB on 30th October 2022.
What is the News?
CSIR- Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute(AMPRI) has converted red mud into X-ray shielding tiles in a green and economically viable manner.
These tiles can be used to build radiation shielding structures in diagnostic X-rays, CT scanner rooms, Cath labs, bone mineral density, dental X-rays, etc instead of the toxic lead sheet to protect the public from radiation hazards.
What is Red Mud?
Red Mud is the waste generated in the Bayer process of alumina production from bauxite. It is also known as bauxite residue.
Red Mud is defined as a “High Volume Low Effect Waste”. Nearly 1 to 1.5 tonnes of RM is being generated while producing one tonne of alumina from the bauxite ore through the Bayer process.
Red Mud Generated Globally: Annually about 175 million tonnes of red mud have been generated globally and stored in a specially designed clay-lined pond. Among that, India is producing nearly 9 million tonnes of red mud every year.
Is Red Mud toxic?
Red Mud is considered to be toxic due to its extreme alkalinity and heavy element leaching.
The clay-lined ponds in which red mud is stored often break out and pollute soil, groundwater, and air and become fatal for both humans and wildlife.
About the underutilization of Red Mud
Red mud is one of the underutilized industrial wastes that is getting accumulated over the years due to an increase in alumina production as well as inadequate technologies for its large-scale utilization.
– Although the scientific community has patented more than 700 applications of red mud, very few of them have reached industries due to high cost, low public acceptance, environmental issues, and limited market.
– Noteworthy, only 3-4% of red mud has been utilized by the industries to produce cement, bricks, source of iron ore etc.
– The beneficial utilization of red mud is becoming a global issue. The red mud contains 30 – 55% of Fe2O3 which is suitable for attenuating high-energy ionizing radiations like X- and gamma rays.