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Title: Organics Characterization Of DWPF Alternative Reductant Simulants, Glycolic Acid, And Antifoam 747

The present study examines the fate of glycolic acid and other organics added in the Chemical Processing Cell (CPC) of the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) as part of the glycolic alternate flowsheet. Adoption of this flowsheet is expected to provide certain benefits in terms of a reduction in the processing time, a decrease in hydrogen generation, simplification of chemical storage and handling issues, and an improvement in the processing characteristics of the waste stream including an increase in the amount of nitrate allowed in the CPC process. Understanding the fate of organics in this flowsheet is imperative because tank farm waste processed in the CPC is eventually immobilized by vitrification; thus, the type and amount of organics present in the melter feed may affect optimal melt processing and the quality of the final glass product as well as alter flammability calculations on the DWPF melter off gas. To evaluate the fate of the organic compounds added as the part of the glycolic flowsheet, mainly glycolic acid and antifoam 747, samples of simulated waste that was processed using the DWPF CPC protocol for tank farm sludge feed were generated and analyzed for organic compounds using a variety of analytical techniquesmore » at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL). These techniques included Ion Chromatography (IC), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES), and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy. A set of samples were also sent to the Catholic University of America Vitreous State Laboratory (VSL) for analysis by NMR Spectroscopy at the University of Maryland, College Park. Analytical methods developed and executed at SRNL collectively showed that glycolic acid was the most prevalent organic compound in the supernatants of Slurry Mix Evaporator (SME) products examined. Furthermore, the studies suggested that commercially available glycolic acid contained minor amounts of impurities such as formic and diglycolic acid that were then carried over in the SME products. Oxalic acid present in the simulated tank farm waste was also detected. Finally, numerous other compounds, at low concentrations, were observed present in etheric extracts of aqueous supernate solutions of the SME samples and are thought to be breakdown products of antifoam 747. The data collectively suggest that although addition of glycolic acid and antifoam 747 will introduce a number of impurities and breakdown products into the melter feed, the concentrations of these organics is expected to remain low and may not significantly impact REDOX or off-gas flammability predictions. In the SME products examined presently, which contained variant amounts of glycolic acid and antifoam 747, no unexpected organic degradation product was found at concentrations above 500 mg/kg, a reasonable threshold concentration for an organic compound to be taken into account in the REDOX modeling. This statement does not include oxalic or formic acid that were sometimes observed above 500 mg/kg and acetic acid that has an analytical detection limit of 1250 mg/kg due to high glycolate concentration in the SME products tested. Once a finalized REDOX equation has been developed and implemented, REDOX properties of known organic species will be determined and their impact assessed. Although no immediate concerns arose during the study in terms of a negative impact of organics present in SME products of the glycolic flowsheet, evidence of antifoam degradation suggest that an alternative antifoam to antifoam 747 is worth considering. The determination and implementation of an antifoam that is more hydrolysis resistant would have benefits such as increasing its effectiveness over time and reducing the generation of degradation products.« less
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  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
  2. Catholic University of America Vitreous State Laboratory, Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400106
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States