What Can Airport Scanners See in Luggage?

Airport security scanners are now used in almost all major airports worldwide. They can detect even small amounts of explosives, radioactive material, and other dangerous materials in the luggage. These scanners use X-ray machines or similar kinds of equipment.

These machines are placed at the airport’s entrance and can scan the contents of a suitcase to find any threat. These scanners have built-in sensors to check for explosives, drugs, guns, and other harmful materials. The airport security scans can be manual or automated, depending on the airport policy. You will find out detailed information about airport security scanners in this blog.

What Can Airport Scanners See In Your Luggage?


Because the airport scanners are now in use, you should be aware of what you can and cannot bring into the airport. Here are the things that you should know about the airport scanners.

How Do the Airport Scanners Work?

First, let us discuss the basic principle of airport scanners. These machines can scan the contents of your luggage and detect any threat. However, there are some limitations. Airport scanners cannot see everything. They can only detect the things that they are specifically designed to detect. There are different types of airport scanners, such as explosive detection systems, X-ray scanners, millimeter-wave scanners, etc. These scanners can detect various materials, such as weapons, explosives, drugs, and other dangerous materials.

If you’ve ever seen a baggage scanner in an airport, you may have noticed that it looks like a giant hamster wheel. Once the baggage passes through the scanner, a high-frequency radar sends pulses of radio waves at the bag, which bounce back of any metal, and then the computer measures the time it takes for the radio waves to return. Since the metal is usually found inside a suitcase, it’s possible to determine the weight of the luggage by measuring the time it takes for the radio waves to return.

What Kind of Stuff Can Airport Scanners See in Your Luggage?

As I have said, airport scanners cannot detect everything. They can only detect the things that they are specifically designed to detect. They cannot detect all the things you may have in your luggage. However, airport scanners are very effective at detecting most threats. For example, if you have a suitcase with many metal parts inside, it will be seen by the scanner. However, if you have a briefcase with a lot of lead inside, it will not be detected.

You may have heard about the TSA’s new body scanner devices that can detect items that may pose a threat to airliners like weapons or explosives. The devices have been installed at major airports and were first used at Los Angeles International Airport. Many travelers are against the devices and feel that the privacy concerns outweigh the benefits. What exactly can the scanners see? Here are just a few examples of what can be found when you opt in to the new technology: guns, knives, fireworks, explosives, and even radioactive material.

Can Airport Scanners Detect Gold?

The answer is yes. In a study conducted by the American Institute of Physics, researchers at the University of Michigan tested the effectiveness of airport body scanners. The study found that airport X-ray machines can detect small amounts of gold, silver, copper, platinum, and palladium at distances as far as eight inches. This is why people trying to smuggle their valuables through airport security checkpoints must put a lot of thought into hiding their valuables.

Therefore, airport scanners can detect gold, but not necessarily in the form of jewelry. The scanners can detect the traces of gold on a suitcase and thus can determine the weight of the gold. However, it would be best if you did not try to bring any gold to the airport with you.

Can Airport Scanners Detect Drugs?

Most people understand those airport scanners are set up to detect weapons, but several airports also use the technology to detect drugs. According to the article, the devices can be set up to detect traces of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The scanner’s x-ray beams go through your skin and collect information about its density. If it detects something, the machine signals to the police officer, who would then check you out with a metal detector and pat you down.

Types of Baggage Scanners in Airports:

In the United States, there are two types of baggage scanners at major airports. The first is the traditional X-ray scanner, allowing airport security officers to use a handheld wand to detect metallic objects concealed inside the luggage. The second type of scanner is a millimeter wave scanner, which uses radio waves to detect nonmetallic things (like drugs) within bags.

Backscatter X-Ray Scanners:

They’ve been used in prisons for years to scan prisoners for contraband. Now police and military forces are using them to search people in public areas. These backscatter x-ray scanners work in a similar way to airport scanners. The machine sends out low-level radiation, which creates a picture of the person inside the scanner. The problem is that the radiation can’t penetrate solid objects like body armor.

Millimeter-Wave Scanners:

The scanner is an electromagnetic wave that is a type of non-ionizing radiation. This type of radiation is used to detect objects, such as metal, from a distance. Its use is that it allows for a 360-degree view and doesn’t disturb any surrounding objects. These scanners are mainly used in airports, casinos, banks, and many other places to detect things that might otherwise be undetectable by the naked eye. There are more than 10,000 millimeter-wave scanners in the U.S. alone, with at least 100,000 more worldwide.

Can You Hide Things from an Airport Scanner?

On the whole, airport security has come a long way since 9/11. Today, you don’t have to worry about getting a full-body scan, and you can bring on board almost anything you want. But it’s still a good idea to be careful with what you’re carrying.

The TSA recommends that you avoid carrying items not allowed through airport security, like guns, knives, and large amounts of cash. Also, avoid wearing clothing with zippers or buttons that might be used to hide items.

However, it’s not always possible to prevent airport security from seeing your valuables. If you are concerned about your luggage, you should know that some items, like prescription drugs, can be detected. It’s best to check your baggage when you’re leaving your home and take your valuables with you. If you’re going your luggage at the airport, hide your valuables in your carry-on bag.


In conclusion, the TSA has a fantastic record of catching bad guys when it comes to airport security. But how can they see them? It turns out they don’t have to do much at all. The most important thing is to keep your belongings clean, bag-free, and free of loose items such as belts or wallets that might cause a problem during the search. If your bags are getting checked by the TSA, make sure that they’re closed and locked. If you’re concerned about missing a flight, keep a copy of your boarding pass. And, even if you don’t have to go through screening, it’s always better to arrive early and be prepared rather than be stuck on an airplane with nowhere to sit.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *