GHACEM partners KNUST on research project

Ghacem officials and the KNUST research team

Ghacem Ltd., in partnership with the Department of Physics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), is embarking on a research project that will see the scientific use of cement as a shielding material to reduce impacts of radiation in the radiological industry.

The Ghacem sponsored research project, titled ‘Radiological Shielding Properties of GHACEM Cement’, aims to investigate and improve the radio-mechanical shielding properties of the GHACEM cement product. A light concrete slab is moulded, and that will serve as a shielding material to protect personnel who work with radioactive sources from the direct effects of radiation.

Shielding has become one of the critical issues in terms of X-ray facilities, nuclear medicine facilities, nuclear power and radiotherapy facility. Lead has long been considered for radiation shielding in these facilities due to its attenuating properties, but it’s worth noting that using lead is expensive; as such, this research is timely to boost the local industry as Ghacem cement is considered a cheaper alternative as a shielding material in these industries.

The research team from KNUST paid a working visit to the Ghacem Tema factory last week, 13th September 2023, to present an update on the research and interact with management on how best to facilitate the project. The team were engaged by top officials of the company: including Technical Director, Mr. Okay Kilinc; Commercial Director, Mr. Kwasi Kyere; Quality Assurance Manager, Ing. John Teye Ohipeni; Human Resource Director Cluster 1, Mr. Joel Lawson; General Manager WAQL, Mr. Eric Amanor, and other managers of the company’s various sections. The KNUST team were led by Dr. Eric Addison, Head Nuclear Science and Technology-Department of Physics; Dr. Martin Owusu-Mensah, Lecturer Department of Physics; and Mr. Joseph Adom, Lecturer Department of Physics.

Speaking to newsmen after the presentations, Mr. Okay Kilinc – Ghacem’s Technical Director, said Ghacem as a company wants to bring out something useful and innovative for the country – hence the partnership with KNUST on this project that seeks to use Ghacem cement as a shielding material/improving radiological shield.

“We expect that at the project’s end, Ghacem cement – which is a made in Ghana product – will be used to create radiological shields against X-rays or any radiological source to be used in future nuclear power in Ghana or in the hospitals or research centres. Radioactive sources are dangerous for humans; so avoiding the expensive method using lead and replacing it with concrete to protect people against radioactivity is economically good.

“As the market leader in Ghana, we would like to use more local/made in Ghana products. We want to stop importation as much as possible. We want to replace lead, which is a scarce product, with light-weight concrete to protect people from radioactivity.”

On his part, Dr. Eric Addison, Head-Nuclear Science and Technology, Department of Physics, recalled that for some years now the team has been looking at the radiological shielding properties of cement products in the country. “We sampled cement from various companies, looking at the shielding properties; and we realised that Ghacem was very promising so we approached the company for partnership/support.

“At end of the research, we hope to come out with the scientific characterisation of cement products and how we can improve on the shielding properties of both radiomechanical materials; and really show that Ghacem has something that makes the nuclear industry and radiological industry very promising in terms of shielding properties”.

Dr. Addison thanked Ghacem for its contribution to the university and physics department. “This is what we want others to emulate – to sponsor scientific projects that really have direct impact on the local economy.”

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