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Title: Characterization of solids deposited on the modular caustic-side solvent extraction unit (MCU) coalescer media removed in October 2014

In February 2015, Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) received a Strip Effluent (SE) coalescer (FLT-304) from MCU. That coalescer was first installed at MCU in July 2014 and removed in October 2014. While processing approximately 31,400 gallons of strip solution, the pressure drop steadily increased from 1 psi to beyond the administrative limit of 20 psi. The physical and chemical analysis was conducted on this coalescer to determine the mechanism that led to the plugging of this coalescer. Characterization of this coalescer revealed the adsorption of organic containing amines as well as MCU modifier. The amines are probably from the decomposition of the suppressor (TiDG) as well as from bacteria. This adsorption may have changed the surface energetics (characteristics) of the coalescer fibers and therefore, their wetting behavior. A very small amount of inorganic solids were found to have deposited on this coalescer (possibly an artifact of cleaning the coalescer with Boric acid. However, we believe that inorganic precipitation, as has been seen in the past, did not play a role in the high pressure drop rise of this coalescer. With regards to the current practice of reducing the radioactive content of the SE coalescer, it is recommended that futuremore » SE coalescer should be flushed with 10 mM boric acid which is currently used at MCU. Plugging of the SE coalescer was most likely due to the formation and accumulation of a water-in-oil emulsion that reduced the overall porosity of the coalescer. There is also evidence that a bimodal oil particle distribution may have entered and deposited in the coalescer and caused the initial increase in pressure drop.« less
  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
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Technical Report
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Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
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United States