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Effect of Surface Layers on the Dissolution of Nuclear Waste Glasses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 February 2011

Shi-Ben Xing
Affiliation:
Vitreous State Laboratory, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064
Andrew C. Buechele
Affiliation:
Vitreous State Laboratory, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064
Ian L. Pegg
Affiliation:
Vitreous State Laboratory, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064
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Abstract

Explanation of the striking non-linear effect of glass composition on the aqueous dissolution represents an important challenge to existing dissolution mechanisms. Surface layers that are formed during glass dissolution may play an important role in this effect. One chemically reactive and one less-reactive nuclear waste glass (leachate concentrations differ by about a factor of 10) were reacted in deionized water. Two types of glass powders were used: Type A powders were pristine glass powders; Type B powders were the glass powders which had been reacted for 120 days to develop the surface layers. Both the solution concentrations and the surface layers were investigated. The experimental observations indicate that: (i) There is a range of glass compositions over which small differences in composition lead to large changes in both reaction rates and surface layer thickness; and (ii) The reaction rate is strongly affected by the formation of the surface layer (the layer appears to be protective) and cannot be explained in terms of saturation effects alone. The findings are contrary to the conclusion of a previous study and serve to highlight the inadequacy of existing dissolution models predicated on an overly simplistic mechanism, especially with regard to glass composition effects.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 1994

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