X-ray -Meaning, 9 Characteristics, 2 types, and uses


What you did not know about x-ray

X-RAY is known as electromagnetic waves. It consists of a bombard metal called tungsten and electrons. X-RAY appears in visible light and shorter wavelengths. It is produced by giving access to speed moving electrons. The speed moving electrons knock out electrons from the inner shells of the metal atoms. The released atoms are replaced by electrons moving in from the outer shells.

The constant movement of the electrons then sends x-rays. The process of forming electrons involves the use of kinetic energy. Kinetic energy helps in producing radiation. X-ray is almost the same or can be likened to light waves. The only difference is that the waves in the x-ray are shorter than light waves.

The wavelength in the x-ray is about 10cm. The instrument used in the production of an x-ray is called x-ray tube. According to research, the x-ray was discovered in 1895 by William Roentgen.

Characteristics of X-ray

The following are characteristics of x-ray:

  • They are comprised of electromagnetic waves.
  • They travel and move in a linear pattern.
  • They are made up of ionised gases.
  • They produce fluorescence in zinc or zinc like substances.
  • They affect fluorescence in zinc substances.
  • They have a great effect on photographic films.
  • They are not just electromagnetic waves but they come with a velocity of light.
  • They can gain access to solid objects of any thickness. Objects like metals, woods, bones, crystals or paper.
  • They are not deflected in an electric or magnetic field.

Types of X-ray

There is a hard and soft x-ray.
Hard X-ray: As the name implies, hard x-ray has a great and high penetrating power. It is used in destroying cancerous cells.
Soft X-ray: Soft x-ray in contrast to hard x-ray have a reduced and lower penetrating power. They have a longer wavelength because it takes time to move.

Uses of X-ray

X-ray is very useful in the study of Chemistry and Medicine. It is used in the airport. The use of x-ray in medicine is enormous.
Airport: X-ray is used in the airport for security purposes. It is used to check baggage in case there is a dangerous item like a bomb. It also detects contraband goods (cocaine, marijuana) in baggage and the body.
In Chemistry, an x-ray is used during the study of crystal lattices (arrangement of particles). It is also helpful in the study of big organic molecules like proteins.
In Medicine:

(A) It is used in examining dislocated and broken bones. It helps the doctor to get photographs of the broken bone. The x-ray is turned on and a photographic film is kept behind the body. The photographic film will help the rays pass through the body but it will take a little time since it needs to capture the bones. This is why bone x-ray usually appears shadow and lighter in colour.

(B) Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is very useful in the treatment of cancer and tumours. Here, radiation is increased. Radiation therapy and other measures are helpful in treating cancerous cells in the body. Although this therapy can be dangerous, research has it that 50% of cancer patients go through radiation therapy during the course of their treatment.

(C) It is used to take photographs of soft tissues.
(D) It is used in detecting areas where one might feel discomfort or pains. It detects foreign bodies in the tissues and organs.

(E) It is used to monitor the progression of a discovered disease. Diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, etc.
(F) It is used to check the effect of prescribed treatment to know if it is working or not.
(G) It is used in photographing the kidney and urinary tract.

Health conditions that require the use of X-ray:

  1. Cancer: Cancer of the bone, cancer of the breast, cancer of the blood.
  2. Brain tumour/ Breast tumour.
  3. Heart enlargement and heart related diseases.
  4. Blocked vessels of the blood.
  5. Broken bones and fractures.
  6. Infections
  7. Arthritis
  8. Decayed tooth
  9. Digestion issues

Harmful Effects of X-ray

  • Due to the high penetrating power, it may produce deep burns in the body.
  • They birth changes in genetics which might affect the next regeneration.
  • They may damage eyesight.
  • They damage cells especially the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cells.


Considering the harmful effects of x-ray, health workers in the x-ray section should avoid being exposed to the machine. They should use special precautionary measures like using lead screens. They should also have regular health check-ups. People should only be exposed when it is inevitable for essential treatment and examinations.

IGBAJI U.C.https://igbajiugabi.com
Igbaji Ugabi Chinwendu, from Cross River State, Nigeria. As a Business Educator, he is profoundly interested in teaching and managing business. Started blogging 2010 and officially 2013. He holds the esteemed positions of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director at Freemanbiz Communication and Writers King LTD, demonstrating his leadership and expertise in the field.


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