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Radiation Sterilization

  • cobalt-60(60Co) source radiation sterilization

cobalt-60(60Co) source radiation sterilization

  • Product ID:Radiation Sterilization
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What is the cobalt-60 Gamma Irradiation

A form of electromagnetic energy characterized by its deep penetration and low-dose rates, Gamma irradiators are powered by Cobalt-60, effectively killing microorganisms throughout the product and its packaging with very little temperature effect and no residues. The amount of radiation received depends on the type of product and its dose requirements. Dosimetric release allows products to be processed, verified, and immediately released for shipment. 

What is cobalt-60

Cobalt-60 (60Co) is one of the radioactive isotopes of the metallic element cobalt. The radioactive isotope 60Co is obtained by irradiating high-purity metallic cobalt in an atomic reactor with a half-life of 5.27 years. It will emit high-speed electrons with energy up to 315 keV through beta decay and decay into nickel-60, and emit two gamma rays at the same time.

What is the use of cobalt 60?

Cobalt-59 can produce the isotope cobalt-60 through neutron absorption. For medical and industrial applications, the isotope cobalt-60 is an important substitute for x-ray tubes. The energy of gamma radiation emitted by cobalt-60 is 1.17 and 1.33 meV. These two types of radiation are particularly useful for detecting defects in metals. Scanning with a scanning device with cobalt radiography equipment can reveal metal internal cracks, welding defects and non-metallic inclusions. The advantage of the isotope cobalt-60 source is that it is small and portable, without power supply. The half-life of cobalt is 5.27 years, so the cobalt source can be used for a long time without replacement. On the other hand, the ray energy is fixed, and the intensity will not change.

What products are sterilized by using radiation?

Cobalt-60 is often used as a radioactive source. The preparation process of cobalt-60 radioactive source is:
  • ① Process metal cobalt into rods, wires, pellets or pellets, and then plate them for protection;
  • ② Carry out pre-treatment before target making, and put it into the target barrel for sealing;
  • ③ Reactor irradiation;
  • ④ After leaving the stack, cut the target tube in the heating chamber, take out the photo-cobalt 60, and measure the activity;
  • ⑤ Load the source cladding quantitatively;
  • ⑥ Welding seal;
  • ⑦ For strong radioactive sources, add a second layer of packaging and welding;
  • ⑧ Carry out quality inspection
The application of cobalt-60 radioactive source is very extensive, almost in all walks of life. In agriculture, it is often used for radiation breeding, stimulation of production, radiation control of insect pests, and food radiation preservation and preservation; in industry, it is often used for non-destructive inspection and radiation. Disinfection, radiation processing, radiation treatment of waste, as well as for thickness, density, level measurement and online automatic control, etc.; in medicine, it is often used for radiotherapy.

What is 60Co-γ ray sterilization

60Co-γ ray sterilization is also gamma radiation sterilization, also called cobalt source irradiation sterilization. It uses a certain dose of ionizing rays with extremely short wavelengths to sterilize products (including raw materials). The radiation isotope cobalt 60 and cesium 157 produce γ The product is irradiated by ray or beta ray emitted by low-energy accelerator.

process of creation of cobalt-60

For sterilization by 60Co radiation, the main activities included in the entire sterilization process include: 1. Sterilization confirmation; 2. Sterilization; 3. Sterility testing; 4. Pyrogen testing (if any); 5. Product delivery And receive.
Cobalt 60 sterilization is the use of 60Co-γ ray irradiation, which acts on microorganisms, directly or indirectly destroys the nucleus of microorganisms, thereby killing microorganisms and playing a role in disinfection and sterilization. It is a kind of irradiation sterilization technology. The gamma rays produced by the radioactive isotope cobalt 60 irradiate packaged food. In the process of energy transfer and transfer, it produces strong physical and biological effects, achieving the purpose of killing insects, sterilizing, inhibiting physiological processes, improving food hygiene quality, maintaining nutritional quality and flavor, and extending shelf life.
60Co-γ-ray irradiation sterilization is a special "cold processing" technology. It sterilizes at room temperature. The γ-ray has high energy and strong penetrating power. While sterilizing, it will not cause the internal temperature of the food to rise, and it can maximize It keeps the unique flavor of the food to the limit, does not affect the nutrition and eating quality of the product, and can be irradiated even in the frozen state, so it is called "cold" sterilization.

How is cobalt 60 produced?

Cobalt (chemical symbol Co) is a hard, gray-blue metal that is solid under normal conditions. Cobalt is similar to iron and nickel in its properties and can be magnetized like iron. The most common radioactive isotopeHelpisotopeA form of an element that has the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons in the nucleus, giving it a different atomic mass. For example, uranium has thirty-seven different isotopes, including uranium-235 and uranium-238. of cobalt is cobalt-60 (Co-60). Cobalt-60 is a byproduct of nuclear reactor operations. It is formed when metal structures, such as steel rods, are exposed to neutron radiation.

Characteristics of 60Co-γ ray irradiation sterilization

Strong penetrability, uniform, thorough and rapid sterilization; no drug residues, no environmental pollution, complete radiation sterilization effect, low radiation technology treatment cost, and low energy consumption.
60Co-γ-ray irradiation sterilization has gradually replaced the original cooking method, high temperature and high pressure sterilization method, and drug fumigation sterilization method, and is widely used in the sterilization and disinfection of medical equipment.
  • 1. Gamma rays have a strong penetrating ability. The processed objects can be pre-packaged into boxes and sealed to make them a kind of packaging that is impermeable to bacteria, so that after radiation sterilization, their shelf life is almost indefinite ;
  • 2. Irradiation sterilization will not cause a significant increase in the temperature of the irradiated object. It is a cold sterilization method and one of the best sterilization methods for heat-sensitive drugs;
  • 3. Thorough sterilization, processing quality can be guaranteed; processing speed is fast, processing cost is low.

Electron beam radiation (electron beam radiation)

Alternatively, electron beam radiation can be used to achieve sterilization. The electron beam accelerator produces high-energy electrons that can cause biological damage. In most cases, an electron energy of about 10 MeV is used, but the exact energy can be adjusted to optimize the penetration depth and limit the breakdown of the irradiated material.
Gamma rays and electron beam rays differ in sample penetration depth, exposure time required for effective sterilization, and product compatibility. Since the penetrating power of electrons is lower than that of gamma rays, electron beam sterilization technology is limited when it is applied to products with lower density or less. However, compared with gamma ray sterilization, electron beam sterilization can use a higher dose and shorter processing time (seconds relative to minutes/hour), thereby increasing throughput and reducing the amount of processed products. Negative impact. In terms of cost, electron beam sterilization is equal to or lower than gamma sterilization.


Cobalt-60 should be kept in a sealed lead container. When there are cobalt-60 radioactive elements in the working environment, you must wear special protective clothing and a radiation dose card.

irradiation sterilization company

Our company provides reliable, long-term, end-to-end Cobalt-60 supply and comprehensive Cobalt-60 support (ensure global delivery, emergency response and disposal services) to improve risk conditions and increase the effectiveness of gamma processing operations.

Long-term supply of cobalt 60

We are the world's leading supplier of Co-60 sealed sources. Our proprietary and diversified supply chain can ensure long-term reliable supply of Co-60.

The most advanced container

Safety is our top priority. We have a large number of lead and steel certified containers approved by regulatory agencies to meet all international transportation requirements. For more than 50 years, Nordion has delivered C-188 Co-60 radioactive source safely, effectively and reliably to customers worldwide.

Global delivery service

Our tried-and-tested distribution system is known worldwide for its complexity and responsiveness. Our unique, software-based order management system and carefully planned transportation logistics ensure that products arrive at their destination on time.

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