RF Shielding for MRI Scanners: Two Types Compared
Two weeks ago we discussed the testing necessary to prepare a site for MRI scanner shielding installation. One of the tests mentioned was the RF interference test. After you get the results from this test, your shielding vendor will have a recommendation for what level of RF shielding your site will need to prevent interference in your MRI images.
To provide you with more details on RF shielding, Bill Mansfield of Professional Installations was kind enough to “co-host” and bring further information for prospective shield buyers to know about the two materials used to build MRI RF shielding: copper and galvanized steel.
As with most things for which there are two choices, there are pros and cons to using either of them, which we’ve addressed side-by-side below:
Copper: Approximately $35,000 labor and material
Galvanized Steel: Approximately $17,500 labor and material
Copper: Seams are covered completely by soldering. This provides a tight seal and high structural integrity.
Galvanized Steel: Seams are typically screwed together. These are more prone to leakage and should be checked carefully every three years during recertification testing. Note: the zinc in galvanized steel will corrode if the shield is exposed to excess moisture.
Speed of installation
Copper: Approximately 6 to 8 days.
Galvanized Steel: Approximately 3 to 4 days.
Copper: A copper shield cannot be reinstalled. However, a substantial portion of the original material cost can be recuperated by scrapping it.
Galvanized Steel: Though galvanized steel is extremely heavy and difficult to move, the screwed-together seams of a steel shield make them movable from site-to-site. Bear in mind though, even slight differences in specifications between two sites can defeat intentions to reuse an RF shield.
Copper and Galvanized Steel: Shields of both materials function with similar effectiveness if they are installed, tested, and maintained correctly.
The Nutshell Version
If you’re looking for a solution that is more affordable but will still function reliably, you may want to choose galvanized steel. However, you’ll have to monitor it much more closely and pay for repairs more frequently.
If you’d prefer to pay a bit more to avoid the hassles of additional repairs, copper is the right choice.
If you have any further questions about MRI shielding or other installation concerns, contact our project management team or take a look at our MRI Project Planning Checklist!
Meet the authors: Steve Rentz, Jordan Batterbee
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