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Hydrogen production from irradiated calcium silicate hydrate

Abstract : In France, cementitious materials are used as conditioning matrix of low level and intermediate level nuclear wastes. Water radiolysis occurs due to the nuclear wastes stored in the materials. The formation of its radiolytic products such as H₂ gas must be evaluated for safety reasons. Calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) is the main product (50%) of hydration of Portland Cement (PC). The aim of this study is to understand the radiolytic mechanisms of the hydrogen production in C-S-H, to investigate the effect of impurities (such as alkali ions, additional hydroxides or nitrates ions) on H₂ gas production in C-S-H and to examine if interactions exist between different main phases (C-S-H and portlandite) in cement matrix. After using various characterization techniques, samples were submitted to different types of irradiation (gamma rays and electrons and heavy ions (HI) beams) to determine their H₂ radiolytic yield, G(H₂). In C-S-H system, it has been shown, under gamma irradiation, that G(H₂) does not depend on water content, moreover, C-S-H system itself produce efficiently H₂ gas. The comparison between the results obtained under gamma rays and that obtained under HI implies: there is no/ low LET effect in C-S-H. While with nitrate ions in C-S-H, a large decrease of G(H₂) is observed. Irradiation of C2S and C3S hydrates mainly composed of C-S-H and portlandite shows that here is no energy transfer phenomena between these two phases. Finally, the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy experiments have enabled proposing radiolytic mechanisms. All these results help us to understand the radiation effects in cements.
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Chengying Yin. Hydrogen production from irradiated calcium silicate hydrate. Radiochemistry. Université Paris-Saclay, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLS355⟩. ⟨tel-02438017⟩

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