Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Jamie Weaver

article posted 18 March 2016

Jamie Weaver is a PhD candidate in the division of Analytical, Environmental, and Radiochemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Washington State University, and is a PhD intern at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Her current research interests span the fields of nuclear chemistry, analytical methods for solid-state systems, glass science, archaeology, and ancient history. She has a B.A. in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware and a B.S. in Physical Science from Washington State University. Ms. Weaver’s PhD dissertation project investigates the localized chemistry of 99Tc in nuclear waste glasses. In addition to this work she has collaborated on two studies that correlate the alteration of man-made ancient glass analogues to modelling the long-term durability of nuclear waste glasses. In 2015 she was awarded the Golding Family Fellowship for Women in Science at Washington State University for her research on the alteration of ancient glasses.

Application of Research into Ancient Glasses to the Development of a Long-Term Glass Corrosion Mechanism for Vitrified Nuclear Waste

Jamie Weaver1,2, David Peeler2, Rolf Sjoblom3, and John McCloy4,3

Alteration data collected on anthropogenic ancient glasses can be used to help inform and verify long-term glass corrosion mechanisms. An understanding of these mechanisms is important in the modeling of the long-term, i.e. over the course of thousands of years, alteration of nuclear waste glasses that will be disposed of in subsurface and geological environments. In this presentation, an update on current research into the analysis of archeological glasses will be presented, and their significance to the development of a long-term glass corrosion mechanism will be discussed. The focus of this talk will be placed on the study of glasses that have been collected from a variety of Iron and Bronze Age Swedish Hillfort sites, and are of special interest due to their inclusion of crystals in their glass matrices, as well as their similarity in chemical composition as compared to waste glasses that are in development at Hanford, WA, USA. The methodology used in the collection and assessment of the samples through interdisciplinary collaborations between glass scientists, geologists, archeologists, art conservation scientists, and museum personnel will be reviewed. Suggestions will be made on how data collected on these glasses and their corresponding alteration products can be accurately applied to current nuclear waste glass models.

Figure 1 – Side view of ancient Swedish Hillfort Glass. Hillfort glasses have compositions similar to basaltic glasses and some nuclear waste glasses. They have been altered in natural environments, and have been subjected to cyclic weathering patterns for at least one thousand years.

1 Department of Chemistry, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA 2 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA 3 Luleċ University of Technology, Luleċ, Swedent 4 School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA