Microstructure of emulsion-based polymeric waste forms for encapsulating low-level, radioactive and toxic metal wastes

Rachel Evans, Anh Quach, Guanguang Xia, Brian J.J. Zelinski, Wendell P. Ela, Dunbar P. Birnie, A. Eduardo Sáez, Harry D. Smith, Gary L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Developed technologies in vitrification, cement, and polymeric materials manufactured using flammable organic solvents have been used to encapsulate solid wastes, including low-level radioactive materials, but are impractical for high salt-content waste streams. 1 In this work, we investigate an emulsification process for producing an aqueous-based polymeric waste form consisting of epoxy resin and polystyrene-butadiene (PSB) latex that is non-flammable, light weight and of relatively low cost. Sodium nitrate was used as a model for the salt waste. The microstructure and composition of the samples were probed using SEM/EDS techniques and salt extraction. The results show that some portion of the salt migrates towards the exterior surfaces of the waste forms during the curing process. The portion of the salt in the interior of the sample is contained in polymer corpuscles or sacs. These sacs are embedded in a polymer matrix phase that contains fine, well-dispersed salt crystals. A companion paper describes work in which small-scale samples were manufactured and analyzed using leach tests designed to measure the diffusion coefficient and leachability index for the fastest diffusing species in the waste form, the salt ions. 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
JournalCeramic Transactions
StatePublished - 2004
EventScience and Technology in Addressing Environmental Issues in the Ceramic Industry and Ceramic Science and Technology for the Nuclear Industry Symposia at the American Ceramic Society 105th Annual Meeting and Exposition - Nashville, TN, United States
Duration: Apr 27 2003Apr 30 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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