Why is Lead One of the Best Materials for Radiation Protection?


If you have x-rays or radiation treatment for illness, you need prevent the harmful rays produced by the equipment from spilling out into the surrounding hallways and rooms. Some materials prevent penetration of dangerous rays better than others. In fact, lead shields for radiology applications are one of the best protections you can use and there are many reasons why.



When you see or touch a solid material, it might look like impenetrable. In reality, tiny things pass right through the human body and brick walls with little to no resistance. That’s because atoms (which make up matter) are not completely solid and their arrangement (density) can vary a great deal.

It’s not easy for radiation to penetrate dense materials, but what makes lead (like the lead shields for radiology) denser than most? It has to do with its atomic structure. In other words, the atoms are packed more tightly together than in other materials. This gives lead a high amount of mass, so it’s more difficult for even the tiniest of things to pass through.



You can find a few materials that have a greater density than lead. For example, gold is denser and so is platinum. Tungsten is another material that’s denser than lead. However, compare the price of lead shields for radiology use, to gold lined walls, aprons, or other materials to protect patients and workers from harmful radiation. This cost is beyond most budgets today.



Lead is the most cost-effective material for radiation protection today, and Mayco Industries is there to help you get the best protection at the most affordable costs. Mayshielding (our radiation protection division) produces a wide range of lead plate and sheet material for radiation shielding. We carry many stock sizes and can custom manufacture what you need. Call 800-749-6061 today for more details.



Radiation Shielding Material Options

Machined Parts


Planning the correct types and levels of protection in medical, dental or research and testing facilities to protect against radiation contamination is an essential part of any project. At Mayco Industries, our team of engineers and design consultants is here to assist your team in any type of project that requires radiation shielding.


It is essential in many applications to rely on more than one type of radiation shielding. Some shielding is used to protect individuals, both patients, and technicians, while other materials are required to prevent radiation from leaving a specific area and contaminating surrounding areas.



Lead bricks are often used in construction or testing applications. They can be designed to the given thickness required to provide the level of protection needed given the radiation source and strength.

Typically, these bricks are used in walls or around barriers in a room or testing area. The bricks can be designed to lock, which allows for easy construction and configuration that can be changed as needed.

Sheet Lead

Different thicknesses and alloys in sheet lead is a highly effective form of personal radiation shielding. Lighter in weight than other types of shielding, it is not pure lead but combines a variety of materials to make it flexible and practical certain applications. Multiple thin layers are used to create the sheets, and protect against both gamma and x-ray radiation.

Lead Glass

Lead lined or x-ray glass is used to provide a transparent and highly protective barrier in any application. This glass is available from Mayco Industries in a variety of thicknesses to meet your protection needs. We also sell lead lined telescopic frames, ensuring full protection around the lead-lined glass in any facility.

How to Choose X-Ray Lead Shields


Working in any type of industry where there is the potential risk of exposure to x-rays or gamma rays is always a risk. By ensuring you have the right type of x-ray lead shields in your protective clothing you can have the confidence in knowing you are protected fully by the smock, garment, or shield.

It is important to realize that not everyone will need the same level of protection. Knowing the level of radiation you will be exposed to will be critical in choosing x-ray lead shields. While there is no harm in having a higher level of protection than necessary, the weight of the more protective shields is higher than that of the shielding materials designed for lower exposure levels.


The Standards

For lead shielding products, we can provide shielding as thin as 1/64”. We offer our own MayShielding line, which offers sheet and plate lead to any specific alloy and size required for use as x-ray lead shields. We can create sheet alloy that is as thin as 0.015 inches to up to five inches in thickness. Designed to provide the protection you need, this is an ideal option for any type of application from medical and dental offers to use in nuclear or pharmaceutical applications.

Other options include protecting the physical space with lead-lined gypsum board, lead-lined plywood, and our x-ray glass and specialized protective frames. Combining all of these shielding factors can create the ideal space that is right for your specific protection needs.



Radiation Shielding Options


One of the advantages of specializing in lead products for over 30 years is the ability to work closely with various industries. At Mayco Industries, we continue to interact with a wide variety of clients, which allows us to respond to demand with specific materials, construction components, and radiation shielding products for use in everything from nuclear facilities to medical and dental X-ray labs and rooms.

To provide an overview of our radiation shielding materials, here are some of our most popular products. The specific choice of product, alloy, and thickness can always be customized to your needs. Our team is able to work with you to create the custom materials required for any specific construction or shielding project.


Drywall and Plywood with Lead

At Mayco Industries, we provide a range of different options in lead-lined gypsum board and lead-lined plywood. All of our products are made on-site, which means we can control the alloy, as well as the lead thickness.

Our plywood and drywall are available in standard sizes, but we can also work with you on custom sizes. We give customers the option to choose the materials with or without the batten strip, and we provide the lead angles for easy installation.

We also make flat bricks and interlocking bricks for solid, durable construction for projects requiring greater radiation protection.



Welcome to the world of MayShielding our new line of highly customized radiation shielding products. This includes plates between 0.015 inches to up to five inches in thickness and with widths of 110 inches and lengths to 25 feet. We will work to your alloy specifications, which provides you with the protection and shielding required to meet all regulations and standards.

Just let us know what you need, and we’ll take care of you. To discuss your requirements, talk to us today at 800-749-6061.



Why Choose Mayco for Custom Lead Casting?

Concrete Ballast Block


If you have a need for lead-based materials like bridge counterweights, nuclear transport containers, or other parts made from lead, Mayco Industries is here to help. We are the primary business to consult for your lead needs, especially for services like custom lead casting, because we are a fully integrated foundry and fabricator.


Full-Service Casting Department

When you’re building a transport cask for nuclear materials, you need to make sure it’s done right the first time. Our full-service casting department can pour custom casks from 1 lb to 100,000 lb in a single pour. Our heat-controlled pours use ceramic heating elements to precisely control temperature and lead solidification. Afterwards, we can provide third-party gamma scans to document a void-free pour.


Mayco for Your Lead Products

Mayco is the largest non-battery fabricator of lead in the United States. Our products cover a diverse range of industries, including ship ballast, bridge ballast, radiation shielding, ammunition, roofing, lead anodes, lead solder, and lead caves. We are lead specialists, and we have the expertise, experience, and equipment to give you the finest materials at the most affordable prices.


Turnaround Times

Many of our customers need their materials as quickly as possible. To ensure prompt delivery, we run plants in both Alabama and Illinois. Not only does this give you the fastest turnaround times, you also get the most cost-effective shipping expense.


Alloys and Specs

ASTM B29 QQ-L171 (Grades A and B), QQ-L201 (Grades A and B), ASTM B749.

Antimonial lead alloys create a harder lead material that is ideal for machining or reducing creep.


Cold Pours

Mayco uses a cold pour process with lead shot, instead of using molten lead. This provides a better material with fewer possibilities of flaws. And when you can’t transport to us, cold pours can be done in place.


Customer Service

Whether you need stock materials or custom lead casting services, you are the most important part of our business. You will always receive prompt and courteous service from our team, and we return all calls as quickly as possible. For more information about our company and lead-based materials, call us today at 800-749-6061.



The Importance of Industrial Lead Counterweights



A lift truck pulls up to a pallet of heavy iron. As the operator inserts and then lifts the forks, he notices the back wheels coming off the ground. The smart operator sets the load back down and doesn’t lift it. Let’s look closer at what is happening in this scenario, to help you understand how lead counterweights work and why they are so important.


What is a Counterweight?

A counterweight is the stabilizing part of a balancing system for a lifting mechanism or machine. They are used in lift trucks, draw bridges, elevators, cranes, and any machine that lifts a lot of weight. A balance system has a main support or fulcrum. This is the tipping point, and by spacing a counterbalance weight on the opposite side of the load, the system balances. This prevents machines like cranes and lift trucks from tipping over when they lift heavy loads.

In the opening scenario, a lift truck operator slid his forks underneath a load that was too heavy for the truck to safely lift. The lack of sufficient weight or the use of non lead counterweights in the back of the truck could not balance out the load, and that’s why the back wheels came off the ground.

Had the operator continued to lift the load, the truck (along with load) would eventually tip over. The counterbalancing weight is just as important as any other part of the lifting machine.


Why Lead?

Most manufacturers prefer to use lead counterweights for their machines, for several reasons:

  • Lead is very dense
  • You need less volume of lead than most other materials
  • Space saving – smaller weights can be used
  • Lead is naturally anticorrosive
  • Lead can easily be formed or machined to custom configurations


Mayco Industries creates custom counterweights for large projects like drawbridges. We also make elevator, marine and aerospace applications, and shot ballast in stock or custom sizes. Call us toll-free today at 800-749-6061 for more info.



Choosing Lead Wire Spool Options


One of the products we offer at Mayco Industries is lead wire spool. Our lead wire ranges from the smallest standard diameter of just 0.093 inches to up to 0.750 inches in diameter. For easy handling, we can provide the wire in cut lengths, but most of our customers choose to order the wire on a drum or spool.

The lead wire spool typically contains a length of the wire equal to approximately 10 feet. We have a variety of spool sizes from 50 lb to 250 lb. Alternatively, we can coil it into drums for larger orders, if requested.


Uses of Lead Wire

We work with many different industries and many different businesses and manufacturers using lead wire spool. The very finest of the diameters of lead wire is a common addition to both hand-tied fishing flies as well as those produced commercially.

Lead is a good option for this application as it is heavier than other types of metals, so it adds weight that can be evenly distributed across the fly. Additionally, it is resistant to corrosion, so that it will last for an extensive period of time even when constantly in the water.


Bullet Wire

A very common use for our lead wire is our specialized bullet wire. This is sold in a variety of diameters and alloys to match with the size of dies in use in your system. The wire replaces the need to try to cast cores. Instead, it makes a ready-to-use application that saves time and cost in the production of bullets.

For large scale ammunitions manufacturing, these cost and time-saving factors add up, reducing the overall cost per unit of production. We can provide information on the specific alloys in our bullet wire and ensure you get just the diameter of lead wire you need for your specific production requirements.