In Spain, a recent modification in the regulations of protection against ionizing radiation obligates to determine radon levels in particular workplaces like spas, mines and caves. Most of these workplaces may present extreme measurement conditions like high aerosol content, temperature, and humidity that can affect the radon detector response. In our laboratory we use to determine mean radon activity concentration in air with the nuclear track detector Makrofol DE covered with an aluminized Mylar foil and placed within the FzK FN diffusion chamber with a glass fibre filter. We have compared detector response using different filter configurations in common laboratory ambient conditions. The configuration with a better response (polyethylene filter) and our reference configuration took part in a study of the effect of different temperature and humidity on our detector response carried out in the INTE radon chamber. Results obtained did not show a significant difference between detector responses with both filters. However, when we exposed them for long periods to real environmental conditions at underground sites we could observe Mylar deterioration. To look in detail into a possible effect of long-term high-humidity exposures we exposed nine sets of detectors with three different polyethylene bags, first five sets under controlled conditions in the INTE radon chamber and then four sets in long-term exposures at high humidity environments. We have seen that the Mylar foil can be damaged depending on the duration of exposure. In a radon chamber exposure time is normally limited to a few days for practical and financial reasons; therefore, results do not show if humidity affects the glass fibre filter and detectors response. To analyse it we exposed detectors in a real humid environment up to a month where we already observed Mylar deterioration due to humidity but the possible impact on track density is hidden by the scattering of the results found, so a clear conclusion cannot be stated. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Nuclear track detector