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Workshop / Seminar

Physical Chemistry Seminar with Holly McEnaney

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About the event

Presenter: Holly McEnaney
Group: Aurora Clark
Title: The Study of Complex Chemical Phenomena for Practical Application at the Hanford Site

Abstract: The complexity of the chemistry found in the Hanford Site’s 177 radioactive waste storage tanks has been subject of research for many years. Originally constructed to produce plutonium in 1943 for United States use in World War II, the cores at Hanford manufactured approximately 65% of the nation’s entire stockpile. In 1989, the site was turned into a waste management facility that still poses many unique challenges to the scientific community. There are myriad societal controversies surrounding waste management, nuclear weapons, and the military in general, all contributing to the problems facing the Hanford Site and the surrounding area. Not only do the tanks contain many different complex systems impossible to physically replicate outside of the Hanford Site, but early processing and general information had to be kept secret. The heavy population of Al species in various coordination environments allows formation of solids boehmite and gibbsite, making Al particularly abundant in the tank waste still, after many years of processing and generations of chemists working on the issue. In all systems including the tank waste, that are far from equilibrium, chemical phenomenon will occur if certain conditions are met. In previous work, aluminate systems in the environment of the Hanford tank wastes were studied and an interesting ion pairing behavior was observed. The ion interactions found may have implications for Al-containing system equilibria. Current and future work will focus on attempting to observe and understand the mechanism of this phenomenon. Then, interactions with species relevant to the Hanford tank environments will be introduced to observe how the phenomenon might affect equilibria of the various aluminate reactions present in the tanks.

Zoom Information:

Meeting ID: 938 0915 3065

Passcode: 8j089e