Description: The Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) will complete Sludge Batch 5 (SB5) processing in fiscal year 2010. DWPF has experienced multiple feed stoppages for the SB5 Melter Feed Tank (MFT) due to clogs. Melter throughput is decreased not only due to the feed stoppage, but also because dilution of the feed by addition of prime water (about 60 gallons), which is required to restart the MFT pump. SB5 conditions are different from previous batches in one respect: pH of the Slurry Mix Evaporator (SME) product (9 for SB5 vs. 7 for SB4). Since a higher pH could cause gel formation, due in part to greater leaching from the glass frit into the supernate, SRNL studies were undertaken to check this hypothesis. The clogging issue is addressed by this simulant work, requested via a technical task request from DWPF. The experiments were conducted at Aiken County Technology Laboratory (ACTL) wherein a non-radioactive simulant consisting of SB5 Sludge Receipt and Adjustment Tank (SRAT) product simulant and frit was subjected to a 30 hour SME cycle at two different pH levels, 7.5 and 10; the boiling was completed over a period of six days. Rheology and supernate elemental composition measurements were conducted. The caustic run exhibited foaming once, after 30 minutes of boiling. It was expected that caustic boiling would exhibit a greater leaching rate, which could cause formation of sodium aluminosilicate and would allow gel formation to increase the thickness of the simulant. Xray Diffraction (XRD) measurements of the simulant did not detect crystalline sodium aluminosilicate, a possible gel formation species. Instead, it was observed that caustic conditions, but not necessarily boiling time, induced greater thickness, but lowered the leach rate. Leaching consists of the formation of metal hydroxides from the oxides, formation of boric acid from the boron oxide, and dissolution ...
Date: February 8, 2010
Creator: Fernandez, A.
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