Degradation of EPDM via gamma irradiation and possible use of EPDM in radioactive waste management

Hacıoğlu, Fırat
In this study, degradation of ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) via gamma radiation and possible use of EPDM in radioactive waste management were investigated. In estimation of radiation stability and possible use of EPDM in radioactive waste management, dose rate (both high and low), irradiation environment (in water and in air), additives (carbon black, zinc oxide, plasticizer) used in formulation, peroxide type (either aliphatic or aromatic) and content were parameters which were analyzed. Three EPDM samples having different peroxides were irradiated in water and in air with two different dose rates (993 Gy/h, 54 Gy/h) to 2163 kGy (for high dose rate) and 1178 kGy (for low dose rate). Irradiation periods for low dose rate were 2.5 years (last sample) which have not been observed in literature. Characterization of irradiated EPDM samples were done by mechanical (tensile, hardness, compression), dynamic mechanical (DMA), thermal (TGA-FTIR) and morphological (ATR-FTIR, XRD, SEM) tests. High dose rate irradiations were done in predicting how far EPDM resist to radiation and which dose rate emitted waste can be immobilized and stored in EPDM for 300 years. Low dose rate irradiations were carried out in determining morphological changes in structure, thermal stability, oxygen effect and types of reactions (crosslinking, chain scisson) which were dominant in irradiated samples. According to the test results, improvement in thermal properties and decrease in elasticity on EPDM via radiation were recorded from thermal and mechanical tests respectively. Moreover, structural changes were monitored from ATR-FTIR, SEM and XRD analysis. Mechanical tests showed that irradiated EPDM samples, which were differentiated with respect to peroxide type (aliphatic, aromatic), could resist up to total absorbed doses of 3750 kGy and 3955 kGy respectively. Up to 1178 kGy in low dose irradiation, there were not much structural changes, which were observed in ATR-FTIR analysis, in EPDM chain. It was concluded that EPDM rubber used in this study were radiation stable polymer so that they could possibly be used in conditioning of radioactive waste.


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Citation Formats
F. Hacıoğlu, “Degradation of EPDM via gamma irradiation and possible use of EPDM in radioactive waste management,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.