Posted by Zoe Geoffrion , on May, 2016
The x-ray machine though complex is a reliable device which is used in various circumstances around the world. Having the ability to penetrate and detect hard objects, airport authorities utilize it for security checkpoints to examine bags and other luggages where deadly weapons and explosives could be hidden. The medical community also uses it to look for broken bones and other health problems in a person’s body.
Inside the machine is a glass vacuum tube where the pairs of electrode, the cathode and anode, sit at its heart. The negatively-charged cathode is a heated filament where the machine current passes through. The electrons across the tube is drawn by the anode which is flat disc made of tungsten.
How It Works
Because of the extremely high voltage difference between the cathode and the anode it causes the electrons to fly through the tube. So an speeding electrons collides with a tungsten atom knocking the electron to the lower level. This action releases extra energy in the form of x-ray photon.
A lot of heat is generated with this high-impact collision during the x-ray production. However a motor turns the anode to prevent it from melting while some of the amount of heat is absorbed by a cool oil bath surrounding the envelop.
The entire mechanism of the vacuum tube is also protected by a thick shield, keeping the x-ray from escaping in different directions. Only a small window in the shield allows some of the x-ray photons escape through a narrow beam. This beam passes through a series of filters onward to the patient.
At the other side of the patient is a camera which records the pattern of x-ray light passing all the way through the patient’s body. The film which is used in the x-ray camera is the same as that of an ordinary camera; however, the x-ray light sets off the chemical reactions instead of visible light.
The doctors keep the film image as a negative. From this negative, they are able to analyze a broken bone because the ones that are exposed to more light appears darker and the ones that has been exposed to less light appears lighter. Moreover, hard materials like bones appear whiter and softer material appear darker and gray. By varying the intensity of the beam, doctors can bring different material into focus.
The Components in the X-Ray Machine
The following x-ray components comprise the whole machine:
1. The Vacuum Tube – This is the x-ray tube that functions by ionizing radiation with waved lengths less short than the ultraviolet light. The cathode in the machine emits electrons into the vacuum tube while the anode collects the electrodes to produce an electric current through the tube. A high voltage accelerates the electrons and the current that flows is pushed till the required amount of x-ray exposure occurred. Energy from the tube are focused onto a visible substance where the final result is viewed;
2. The Power Source – An x-ray machine requires a high voltage power source usually ranging from thirty up to one hundred fifty kilowatts which depends on the kind of x-ray being taken. This voltage is used to speed up the electrons within the vacuum tube which is usually pulse from one microsecond to one full second. Again, this high voltage machine controls penetration of the x-ray, the overall contrast of the image. This voltage of the current and the exposure time affect the dose and darkness of the image;
3 The Control Unit – This is necessary to manage the current voltage and the time of exposure. The intensity of the radiation can change dramatically. It depends whether the machine is used to render stills of body parts or for security monitor. There is also voltage control display which allows to make adjustment in the anode to change the type of radiation released. It has also a timer to control the pulse and duration of the exposure, which shuts off when radiation has been completed.
Gasser and Sons is a leading X Ray Component Manufacturer and offers nearly every type of x-ray tube components to meet your inspection needs.