A portable nuclear gauge uses very small amounts of radioactive material, Cesium 137 and Americium 241, to produce just enough radiation to measure the density of soils and asphalt. They measure the compaction density of foundations under buildings and roadways as well as the compaction of newly laid asphalt. Without proper compaction our infrastructure, including building, bridge and roadway foundations, would frequently fail, resulting in increased construction costs, traffic delays and accidents.
The radioactive source material is bonded into a ceramic pellet that is the size of a small pebble. The sources are contained in laser-fused, double encapsulated steel housings that make them virtually impenetrable and indestructible. They must pass extensive testing under the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The bonded material is not subject to leaking, oozing, melting or powdering. The steel canisters are further shielded inside the gauge’s steel source rod and surrounded by lead and tungsten bio-shields.