Purpose: Due to the current interest in MRI-guided radiotherapy, the magnetic properties of the materials commonly used in radiotherapy are becoming increasingly important. In this paper, mea- surement results for the magnetization (BH) curves of a range of sintered heavy tungsten alloys used in radiation shielding and collimation are presented.
Methods: Sintered heavy tungsten alloys typically contain > 90% tungsten and < 10% of a combina- tion of iron, nickel, and copper binders. Samples of eight different grades of sintered heavy tungsten alloys with varying binder content were investigated. Using a superconducting quantum interference detector magnetometer, the induced magnetic moment m was measured for each sample as a function of applied external field H0and the BH curve derived.
Results: The iron content of the alloys was found to play a dominant role, directly influencing the magnetization M and thus the nonlinearity of the BH curve. Generally, the saturation magnetization increased with increasing iron content of the alloy. Furthermore, no measurable magnetization was found for all alloys without iron content, despite containing up to 6% of nickel. For two samples from different manufacturers but with identical quoted nominal elemental composition (95% W, 3.5% Ni, 1.5% Fe), a relative difference in the magnetization of 11%–16% was measured.
Conclusions: The measured curves show that the magnetic properties of sintered heavy tungsten alloys strongly depend on the iron content, whereas the addition of nickel in the absence of iron led to no measurable effect. Since a difference in the BH curves for two samples with identical quoted nominal composition from different manufacturers was observed, measuring of the BH curve for each individual batch of heavy tungsten alloys is advisable whenever accurate knowledge of the magnetic properties is crucial. The obtained BH curves can be used in FEM simulations to predict the magnetic impact of sintered heavy tungsten alloys.