Badhwar, G. D., Huff, H. and Wilkins, R. Alterations in Dose and Lineal Energy Spectra under Different Shieldings in the Los Alamos High-Energy Neutron Field.
Nuclear interactions of space radiation with shielding materials result in alterations in dose and lineal energy spectra that depend on the specific elemental composition, density and thickness of the material. The shielding characteristics of materials have been studied using charged-particle beams and radiation transport models by examining the risk reduction using the conventional dose-equivalent approach. Secondary neutrons contribute a significant fraction of the total radiation exposure in space. An experiment to study the changes in dose and lineal energy spectra by shielding materials was carried out at the Los Alamos Nuclear Science Center neutron facility. In the energy range of about 2 to 200 MeV, this neutron spectrum is similar in shape within a factor of about 2 to the spectrum expected in the International Space Station habitable modules. It is shown that with a shielding thickness of about 5 g cm−2, the conventional radiation risk increases, in some cases by as much as a factor of 2, but decreases with thicknesses of about of 20 g cm−2. This suggests that care must be taken in evaluating the shielding effectiveness of a given material by including both the charged-particle and neutron components of space radiation.