Lead X-Ray Radiation Shielding protective glass is used in medical facilities, security screening, airports and laboratories. X-ray glass, also referred to as radiation shielding glass or lead glass, is leaded glass that provides shielding protection by absorbing the energy of radiation. This glass contains lead oxide, which absorbs X-Rays. For architectural applications it is generally specified by its lead equivalency, which is the degree to which it shields against radiation as measured as the thickness of the equivalent protection from solid lead in inches or millimeters. Available from Glassopolis in various sizes, thicknesses, and lead densities. It is available as a filmed or laminated glass for impact safety applications, and as an insulated glass unit for thermal applications. An inventory of Lead X-Ray glass is available for immediate delivery.  The most common applications are:

Lead(pb) Equivalency Typical Glass Thickness Typical Application
2.0 mm (1/16”) 8 mm (5/16”) Most X-Ray applications
2.7 mm (3/32”) 11 mm (7/16”) Cancer treatment facilities
3.2 mm (1/8″) 14 mm (9/16”) Where more protection is required

What are the sizes and thickness available?

X-ray glass is not mass produced on a floating line. It is cast into giant glass plates which are then cut into sheets and polished for optics. The size of the sheet can vary because not all the slices come out without breaking. The lead oxide and barium content that provides the protection against radiation also makes the glass brittle. There is no standard sheet size and the thickness may vary, but the performance is guaranteed by the manufacturer.  For example, a piece of glass with a 2 mm lead equivalent (LE) can be 7mm to 10mm thick depending on the batch. It is usually 8mm, but it can vary from batch to batch.  Smaller sheets are more common than larger ones.  Glassopolis have sheets up to 1221mm x 2642mm (52”x 104”).  Sheets over 1066mm x 1829mm (42” x 72’’) can have a significant impact on the cost of a radiation sheilded opening.  If there are budget concerns, it is better to specify smaller sheets.

Who produces the leaded glass that Glassopolis supplies?

Glassopolis provides only high quality leaded glass from Corning in France and Schott Glass in Germany.


Care must be taken to ensure that the radiation shielding glass overlap to ensure total and complete protection against radiation. There should be no gaps without radiation protection. Radiation shielding materials should not be butted up to each other “edge to edge”. They must always overlap.  When installing, care should be taken that the sealing agents do not contain any acid or alkaline substances (e.g. acetic acid, ammonia). Labels may cause staining on the glass surface by the reaction of the adhesive. When masking tape is used in caulking, remove it immediately after caulking and wipe off any traces with alcohol.

Maintenance & Care

The surfaces of lead X-Ray radiation shielded glass are susceptible to scratches and attack by acids and alkalis. Use only water, non-abrasive cleaning agents and soft cloth. Always dry completely. Do not allow water to dry on the surface of the glass. If the glass becomes dirty polish the surface with a dry clean cloth with alcohol. Immediately remove all traces of alcohol with a new dry and clean cloth. Always refer to the manufacturer for detailed cleaning procedures. Lead X-Ray glass can be disinfected by commercially available disinfectants approved by the manufacturer. A disinfection by UV exposure (solarization) is also possible. Immediately wipe off water in case the glass becomes wet.

What determines the requirement for the lead equivalence?

Lead equivalence changes depending on the power of the transmitter, whether it’s 80 kV or 300 kV, etc. In some special cases it is necessary to examine the table if the specification requires a certain performance at a specific kV index. There are also sophisticated requirements for gamma-based PET radiation.

Shielding Characteristics for Corning Med-X Glass

Shielding Characteristics for Corning Med-Gamma Glass