Award Date

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Chemistry

First Committee Member

Kenneth R. Czerwinski

Second Committee Member

Ian D. Hutcheon

Third Committee Member

Julie M. Gostic

Fourth Committee Member

Gary Cerefice

Number of Pages

323

Abstract

This dissertation comprehensively explores and develops new tools for nuclear forensic science to facilitate the identification of chemical process history in uranium oxides. Nuclear forensics is an emerging discipline motivated by the need to prevent and combat malevolent acts involving nuclear and radiological materials. This dissertation examined process signatures in uranium oxide powders, precursors, and sintered fuel pellets.

Signatures were investigated on set of powder and pellet exemplars synthesized in the laboratory and a set of real‐world samples with process information obtained from the literature or manufacturer. The examined techniques included morphology as revealed by scanning electron microscopy, near‐infrared reflectance (NIR) spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, powder x‐ray diffraction, specific surface area, and oxygen isotope composition. Overall, this dissertation identified promising process signatures related to powder morphology, NIR, and thermogravimetric analysis. Additional results provide insights on the direction of future research in the area of process signatures.

Keywords

Chemical processes; Forensic sciences; Morphology; Nuclear forensics; Oxygen isotope; Signature; Uranium oxides

Disciplines

Radiochemistry

Language

English


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