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Electromagnetic Waves - What are X-rays?

Electromagnetic waves with a wavelength shorter
than ultraviolet light are called X-rays (not X waves).
-rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

How are X-rays used for Medical Photographs?

X-rays can pass easily through flesh but not through bone.
X-ray photographs are used to show the image of bones
against a black background.
These photographs can show if bones are broken or damaged.

What is a Barium Meal?

X-rays can not pass through barium sulfate.
Barium sulfate can be given in a hospital to a patient
as a liquid drink called a barium meal.
Information from an x-ray photograph about the stomach
and intestines can be used to diagnose illness or disease.
Although barium sulfate is toxic, it is safe to use
in this way because it is not soluble
and can not enter into the blood of the patient.

X-ray diffraction is used in crystallography. It gives
information about the arrangement of atoms in materials.

X-ray scanners are used for security at airports
and can show the presence
of hidden objects in peoples bags or clothing.

How do X-rays cause Harm?

Low intensity X-rays can damage living cells and
cause cancer. People who work with X-rays
take measures to protect themselves from exposure.
They wear a film badge and stand behind
special screens when the X-ray machine is switched on.

High intensity X-rays will kill living cells.

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