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These gauges are most useful where heat, pressure, or corrosive substances, such as molten glass or molten metal, make it impossible or difficult to use direct contact gauges.The ability to use radioisotopes to accurately measure thickness is widely used in the production of sheet materials, including metal, textiles, paper, plastics, and others.Radioisotopes have the supreme advantage that they can be taken to the site when an examination is required – and no power is needed.However, they cannot be simply turned off, and so must be properly shielded both when in use and at other times.
Gamma radiography works in much the same way as X-rays screen luggage at airports.
Nucleonic gauges are also used in the coal industry.
The height of the coal in a hopper can be determined by placing high energy gamma sources at various heights along one side with focusing collimators directing beams across the load.
There, the radioactive source is remotely exposed and a radiographic image of the weld is produced on the film.
This film is later developed and examined for signs of flaws in the weld.