MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a powerful modern diagnostic tool that can save millions of people around the world. As the name suggests, this beast of a machine is far from the safest medical equipment to lie around the hospital as it requires absolute attention from the maintenance department. Otherwise, it can cause a medical emergency on its own. It must remain as far away from metal products as possible and must be cooled down to a certain temperature or else it may BLOW! Well, not like that, but equally dangerous. So what happens when an MRI needs to scrapped after completing its valuable service?
MRI is a way to look inside the body without cutting it wide open. Well, that is what X-rays and ultrasounds do, but MRIs are way cooler than either of them. We can look inside a person without pelting it with dangerous waves, and we can see all of that in working condition without the need of surgery. We can look at the neurological activity in the brain and the blood flowing through the veins with the help of an MRI. Any anomaly can be easily detected by the MRI scan, and then the patient can be treated accordingly. But that is not why you are here, you are here to see MRIs go berserk and we will give you that. A little bit of engineering review is what is required first!
Our body is 70 percent water as you probably know. Since water present in our bodies is in the form of a solution, it can be ionized very easily. Consequently, a strong magnetic field can align most of the molecules in our body. The magnets in the MRI are 20 times more powerful than the average domestic fridge, and it resonates the magnetic field around our bodies. The scanner scans this magnetic ability and then interpolates the areas underneath it. It is a very cool piece of medical engineering, but yes, how to blow it?
The powerful magnets in the MRI are very strong, and thus, they need cooling all the time. We cannot even afford to turn it off at all. The cooling must be present there, and the machine should remain on else the liquid helium that cools it will boil off and blast the whole thing. Also, the magnetic side of the MRI is also quite fun to play with. Check out these students who are trying to play with the MRI.
Also, if the MRI needs to be shut down immediately, there is a 30-second emergency shut-down that involves getting rid of all the Helium, and once it does, it does so in an exploding fashion. Check it out here.
You shouldn’t feel unsafe around these machines because there is nothing to worry as long as you don’t push the red button or mess with its power supply. It is just like any other high-end machine that has special needs.