Description: Laser ablation is effective both as an analytical tool and as a means of removing surface coatings. The elemental composition of surfaces can be determined by either mass spectrometry or atomic emission spectroscopy of the atomized effluent. Paint can be removed from aircraft without damage to the underlying aluminum substrate, and environmentally damaged buildings and sculptures can be restored by ablating away deposited grime. A recent application of laser ablation is the removal of radioactive contaminants from the surface and near-surface regions of concrete. We present the results of ablation tests on concrete samples using a high power pulsed Nd:YAG laser with fiber optic beam delivery. The laser-surface interaction was studied on various model systems consisting of Type I Portland cement with varying amounts of either fine silica or sand in an effort to understand the effect of substrate composition on ablation rates and mechanisms. A sample of non-contaminated concrete from a nuclear power plant was also studied. In addition, cement and concrete samples were doped with non-radioactive isotopes of elements representative of cooling waterspills, such as cesium and strontium, and analyzed by laser-resorption mass spectrometry to determine the contamination pathways. These samples were also ablated at high power to determine the efficiency with which surface contaminants are removed and captured. The results show that the neat cement matrix melts and vaporizes when little or no sand or aggregate is present. Surface flows of liquid material are readily apparent on the ablated surface and the captured aerosol takes the form of glassy beads up to a few tens of microns in diameter. The presence of sand and aggregate particles causes the material to disaggregate on ablation, with intact particles on the millimeter size scale leaving the surface. Laser resorption mass spectrometric analysis showed that cesium and potassium have similar chemical ...
Date: October 5, 1998
Creator: Savina, M.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Article
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