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Accurate phase characterization of the alteration products of rad-waste requires the separation and identification of scattered individual grains from among the bulk product. These grains are typically 5 to 100 μm in size. Bulk x-ray powder diffraction will normally not detect these minor phases, and even if the phase can be detected, it often may not be identifiable. The use of the Gandolfi technique with the individual particle not only facilitates the identification, but also allows the assignment of the identification to the specific grain.
Property models have been developed for the major properties that need to be controlled in the production of borosilicate glasses for West Valley high-level nuclear waste immobilization. The chemical durability is the most important parameter for product performance, while melt viscosity is the most critical parameter in assuring the processability of the glass. Simple models for these properties are described that are based on data from numerous glasses which were prepared with compositions in the region around the West Valley reference glass. A scheme for optimization of the target glass and for predicting the acceptability of glasses resulting from natural process variations is illustrated. This involves integration of the product models with a process model that was described previously. This approach has guided the present placement of the West Valley reference glass.
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