April 2005

DIAL's Research Highlights


Diagnostic Instrumentation & Analysis Laboratory
Mississippi State University
John Plodinec, Principal Investigator


Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Science and Technology
Cooperative Agreement DE-FC01-05EW07029


Task 1

Support of Closure Sites

Fernald Silos Project Monitoring and Control Integration

Waste stabilization formulation development. Formulation testing continued. During April, the primary goal was to perform the TCLP protocol on the six batches prepared during March. The results of the TCLP testing demonstrated that the formulations are very sensitive to leaching. The lead concentrations in the extract solutions were well above the RCRA limit in all but one of the samples.

  • The following activities are planned for the upcoming months:
  • continue formulation testing with K-65;
  • continue TCLP evaluations;
  • develop formulations for samples with Advacast, a grout thinning agent;
  • finalize Jacobs Engineering computer model and perform water balance simulations.

Accelerating Phytoremediation by Monitoring Plant Status

During the month of March, we have been analyzing samples and data from previous experiments. We have also been preparing for the next round of mercury phytoremediation experiments which will start early in May, upon receipt of the Brake ferns that we ordered.

Bio-availability and Speciation of Mercury in the Oak Ridge Ecosystem

During this month, after the detailed study on costs of various possibilities (self-built test bed vs. manufacturer-made aquarium tanks), we have made the decision on the final test bed. We will buy two manufacturer-made 8 x 4 x 4-ft acrylic aquarium tanks. We are in the process of getting two quotes. We have also repaired the metal/soil blender/mixer for homogenizing contaminated soils. The device is ready to be used for the preliminary study we planned in the coming month. At the same time, we have analyzed 150 plant tissues from last experiments on bio availability and phytoremediation study. We continue in our data analyses and manuscript preparation.

We will conduct the preliminary experiments on a small size test bed with new functioned metal/soil blender/mixer. We will start the process of buying manufacturer-made test bed.

Task 2

Support of Hanford Single Shell Tank Waste Disposition

In-tank/At-tank Characterization for Closure of Hanford Tanks

Stereovision. The stereovision effort performed more experiments this month. Some images of objects with more texture were acquired and analyzed with both of our algorithms. Even though it is not practical to have texture requirements in a real situation (i.e., in a tank); the idea here is to check if we can consistently obtain good disparity matches from our own lab images. Our newly developed UNIX-based algorithm can produce comparable disparity maps when using literature images. Our efforts to improve our method and our system continue.

Laser-induced fluorescence-spectral imaging. Analysis of LIF spectra obtained with 532-nm irradiation continued. In order to optimize operating conditions for 355-nm irradiation, LIF spectra of solid sodium salicylate were recorded; sodium salicylate was chosen because of its high emission efficiency. Our optimization efforts continue.

Microwave-induced plasma-cavity ringdown spectroscopy. During this month, efforts focused on construction of a plasma-CRDS system for uranium measurements. The system consists of a portable diode laser source, a plasma source, a ringdown cavity, a sampling device, and an electronic control portion. The system will be optimized through evaluation of the ringdown baseline stability and the efficiency of the generation of uranium atoms in the plasma.

Fiber optic sensors. In order to build up a fast data acquisition system to read fast PMT signals with microsecond resolution, a fast data acquisition card has been ordered from National Instruments, and a new computer has been ordered from DELL.

Fourier transform profilometry. During April, the Fourier transform profilometry (FTP) effort continued its development of a base plate to interface the support tower with the telescoping probe. Our efforts continued to reduce the weight of the elbow section housing the FTP optics. Investigation and prototyping of dual usage of a single light for both fringe pattern projection and utility illumination is underway. Development of software for FTP probe motion control continued. Work is in progress toward identifying the necessary procedures for utilizing the large tanks at TVA's Regenesys facility in Columbus, MS for testing of our probe-based imaging systems prior to demonstration at Hanford's Cold Test Facility. Target measurement scenarios that might be encountered in a large-tank environment have been studied; additional measurement scenarios will be investigated. Our study of FTP measurements of submerged targets continued. We have implemented an initial water refraction correction, which has improved the FTP results for submerged objects, but further improvement is desirable. Further study of approaches to correct the distortion is under way. During April, we have also performed some development work in support of the Stereovision effort. Using a dual-frame grabbing board, the software development of dual-camera controls, image acquisition and the image file management has been completed. A distribution package will be generated for Stereovision users. Work continued on dual-camera synchronization using a single frame grabber with multiple video channels.

Process Chemistry and Operations Planning for Hanford Waste Alternatives

Extensive work continues on the development of the chemistry neural network. A number of simulations were run and these results were processed and routed to the neural network application available in the JMP software. Whereas this software will not be used in the HNF G2 operations, it provides us with some insights into the construction of training sets and anticipated requirements for developing the model. Once the Neuron Line software is obtained from HNF, the existing solubility/property database will be employed to evaluate network development within the desired operating environment.

Porting of the ESP version 6.5 DBLSLTDB database to ESP version 6.7 is continuing. Work is currently focused on the carbonate system which exhibits singularities based on the solution conditions for the various hydrates. Further work on sulfate and phosphate will complete the upgrade.

Additional solutions are being prepared to widen the response regime for the aluminum nitrate system. In this case the solutions will be prepared from aluminum wire. The wire has been received and is being cleaned and prepared for the experiments.

Flexible Scintillating Optical Fiber Sensor for Determination of Liquid Level

Progress on this task will be reported at a later date.


Task 3

Disposition of Idaho HLW Calcine

Support of ICP-SP3 Calcine Disposition Project

Phase I is almost completed. We will be doing some further testing on a hydroceramic waste form with a calcine simulant with smaller particle size. Phase II will be done with a new calcine simulant that has been received. The initial 5-kg batch of materials is now being made up. Chemical analysis will be done on that batch and recipes for the first waste forms to be made from it are now being formulated. We are looking to purchase a mixer/viscometer for measurements during processing. That decision will be made during the next reporting period.


Task 4

Support of SRS Salt Disposition and Other SRS Alternatives

Support for SRS Salt Disposition Alternatives

Predictive mode modeling of the 41H SRS aged simulant (BATCH 1) prepared and column experiment currently ongoing at FIU was completed. The standard flowsheet simulations were performed using the DIAL DBLSLTDB and holding the solids/aqueous volumes constant for the experiments' entirety. Preliminary results were ported into JMP software for variable correlations. Correlations greater than 0.89 included the following variable pairs: viscosity/percent dilution by weight, density/ionic strength, solids volume remaining/percent dilution by weight, density/conductivity, and solids volume remaining/Abs. viscosity. As experimental data are received, the model will be adjusted to reflect any changes. A letter report was sent to SRS and FIU.

Preliminary calculations on two and three component potassium systems using available literature data are currently underway. Information gained from these calculations will be used to identify any gaps within the temperature ranges of tank waste modeling and necessary solubility experiments will be designed to fill them.

On-line Analysis for Defense Waste Processing Facility

The broken water tube connectors of the broadband Echelle spectrometer were replaced by the engineer from Laser Components IG, Inc. Although the Echelle spectrometer can be operated, the calibration of the spectrometer was found to be incorrect. To interpret the LIBS data, the spectrometer needs to be recalibrated. Laser Components IG, Inc. will lend us the appropriate light sources for calibrating the spectrometer. The LIBS slurry measurements were performed with a LIBS system that uses a Czerny-Turner spectrometer (covers only 20 nm simultaneously). The calibration data for slurry were collected by spiking Fe and Li into the slurry. A paper entitled, "Slurry Product Analysis with Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy" was presented at the 107th American Ceramic Society Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

Support of Production of High Waste Loading Glasses in the DWPF

Discussions were held with Savannah River personnel at the ACS meeting, and plans were made for future work. More video observations will be made to study cold cap formation as well as melt behavior.


Task 5

HEPA Filter Performance Assurance

Regenerable HEPA Filter Performance Testing

Progress on this task will be reported at a later date.


Inquiries may be addressed to:

Dr. John Plodinec, Director
205 Research Blvd.
Starkville, MS 39762-5932


Phone: 662-325-2105
FAX: 662-325-8465
Email: dial@dial.msstate.edu