X-ray absorption studies of chlorine valence and local environments in borosilicate waste glasses

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Chlorine (Cl) is a constituent of certain types of nuclear wastes and its presence can affect the physical and chemical properties of silicate melts and glasses developed for the immobilization of such wastes. Cl K-edge X-ray absorption spectra (XAS) were collected and analyzed to characterize the unknown Cl environments in borosilicate waste glass formulations, ranging in Cl-content from 0.23 to 0.94 wt.%. Both X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) data for the glasses show trends dependent on calcium (Ca) content. Near-edge data for the Ca-rich glasses are most similar to the Cl XANES of CaCl2, where Cl is coordinated to three Ca atoms, while the XANES for the Ca-poor glasses are more similar to the mineral davyne, where Cl is most commonly coordinated to two Ca in one site, as well as Cl and oxygen nearest-neighbors in other sites. With increasing Ca content in the glass, Cl XANES for the glasses approach that for CaCl2, indicating more Ca nearest-neighbors around Cl. Reliable structural information obtained from the EXAFS data for the glasses is limited, however, to ClCl, ClO, and ClNa distances; ClCa contributions could not be fit to the glass data, due to the narrow k-space range available for analysis. Structural models that best fit the glass EXAFS data include ClCl, ClO, and ClNa correlations, where ClO and ClNa distances decrease by approximately 0.16 Å as glass Ca content increases. XAS for the glasses indicates Cl is found in multiple sites where most Cl-sites have Ca neighbors, with oxygen, and possibly, Na second-nearest neighbors. EXAFS analyses suggest that ClCl environments may also exist in the glasses in minor amounts. These results are generally consistent with earlier findings for silicate glasses, where Cl was associated with Ca2+ and Na+ in network modifier sites.


Analytical Chemistry | Biological and Chemical Physics | Chemistry | Physical Chemistry


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