How does airport X-ray work?

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How does airport X-ray work?
How does airport X-ray work?

Anyone who has ever used commercial airlines knows that airports have very tight security measures. There is a clear list of items that a passenger can take with him on board, and a list of those that he must pack in his luggage. It is now common practice to use X-rays to check luggage at the airport. In addition, it should be noted that in some cases it may be necessary to scan the passenger himself using an X-ray.

Scientists say the x-ray machine can't do damage, yet passengers are curious to know how it works. This amazing mechanism allows you to look inside the human body, but few people understand what scientific research is hidden behind this technology.

How does it work?

luggage scanner

So how does an X-ray work at an airport? While the passenger is passing through the metal detector, their luggage is passing throughx-ray. The conveyor pulls each item through a special mechanism. X-rays are similar to electromagnetic waves, but differ in that they have more energy and therefore can penetrate many materials.

The machines used in airports are usually based on a dual X-ray system. It has a single X-ray source that typically ranges between 140-160 KVP (maximum kilovolts). The penetration distance of the rays directly depends on the KVP indicator. The higher the KVP, the better the machine works. Before the beams reach the baggage, they go through three levels of adjustment: the first qualifier, the filter, and the second qualifier. This is necessary so that the computer can more accurately identify low-energy objects, which are most organic materials. In the photo above, you can see what an X-ray looks like at the airport.

Features of identifying various materials

smuggling in luggage

Because all matter absorbs x-rays at different strengths, the image displayed on the screen allows the operator to see different things inside the luggage. Typically, a computer visually separates different materials using colors. Depending on the range of energy passing through the object, things inside the luggage are divided into three categories.

  • organic;
  • inorganic;
  • metals.

While the colors used to represent inorganic materials and metals vary by manufacturer, virtually allmanufacturers indicate organic materials with orange. This is because they are the most explosive.

The position of the operator hires specially trained professionals who are trained to search for suspicious items. And it's not just about obviously dangerous things like guns or knives, but anything else that could be used to make improvised explosives (IEDs). Terrorists and hijackers very often use the ITS to gain control of an aircraft. CBBs can be produced in a myriad of different ways, from the most common pipe bomb to an ingenious electronic device that can be controlled from a great distance.

Misconceptions about the potential impact of X-rays on things in luggage

film from the camera

A common misconception is that X-rays used in airport screening can damage camera film(s) or electronic storage media. All modern X-ray systems scan electronic media and film without any harm to the latter, since the level of radiation emitted is too low to cause any harm to the film. Data carriers have a much higher sensitivity threshold than film in this respect.

Dangers that even an X-ray of luggage at the airport will not save from

plane explosion

Laptops, tablets, phones and other similarDevices are made up of too many small parts, and so in many cases, using only X-ray data, it is simply impossible to understand what is inside them. Attackers often use this to bring banned substances on board, so airport workers can ask the owner of the device to turn it on to make sure that there are parts inside without which it would not work, and not something prohibited.

How to prepare for an X-ray scanner at the airport

X-rays at airports

When it's time to travel, at the airport you should not worry about the fact that other people will see your body in full growth and all the insides, airport workers see this, perhaps several thousand times a day, and specifically in no one is interested in your pictures. A little time will pass, and you will forget about this episode, besides, the police will do everything so that nothing bothers you. You can wear any kind of clothes. But be warned if you have any medical devices implanted in your body, such as a pacemaker.

Is X-ray scanning the body safe?

radiation hazard

Just like a metal detector, the main purpose of an x-ray is to reveal anything suspicious. If the passenger is wearing a bracelet, it will be shown on the screen in the same way as internal organs, but highlighted in a different color. The same thing will happen if the strange object is not hidden inside the body, but somewhere underclothes. These machines emit incredibly tiny doses of radiation in order to instantly take pictures of the insides of the person being examined.

Just like conventional x-ray machines used in hospitals, airport x-rays are said to be completely harmless by doctors and scientists. It is possible that they can really harm human he alth, but only if you stand in the place of exposure to X-rays for several hours, but if it is just a few milliseconds, the X-ray machine is physically incapable of harming human he alth.

Where else are airport X-ray machines used

search in prison

First of all, X-ray machines of this type are used at airports and borders to help border guards stop smuggling. But the same apparatus would be meaningless in hospitals, because doctors are primarily interested in the he alth of specific organs, and not in the presence of hidden foreign things.

X-ray machines at the airport are not accurate enough to be used in medical facilities. It's kind of like the reverse version of regular x-rays.

While simple machines show detailed images of bones and internal organs, airport x-rays are used to produce blurry images rather than detailed ones. But at the same time, they are accurate enough to be used in prisons. Often relatives and friends who visit prisoners try to conveysomething forbidden. As in the airport, X-rays emitted from special equipment and installed in separate rooms should reveal illegal items, which greatly contributes to reducing the cases of transferring to prisoners those things that are prohibited in places of detention.

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