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Radiation damage effects in chlorite investigated using microfocus synchrotron techniques

DOI: 10.1021/acsearthspacechem.8b00205 DOI Help

Authors: William Bower (The University of Manchester; Dalton Nuclear Institute; Dalton Cumbrian Facility; University of Helsinki) , Carolyn I. Pearce (Dalton Nuclear Institute, The University of Manchester; Dalton Cumbrian Facility; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) , Andrew D. Smith (Dalton Cumbrian Facility) , Simon M. Pimblott (Dalton Nuclear Institute, The University of Manchester; Dalton Cumbrian Facility; Idaho National Laboratory) , J. Frederick W. Mosselmans (Diamond Light Source) , Richard A. D. Pattrick (The University of Manchester; Dalton Nuclear Institute)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Acs Earth And Space Chemistry

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2019
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 9044 , 9598

Abstract: A detailed understanding of the mechanisms and effects of radiation damage in phyllosilicate minerals is a necessary component of the evaluation of the safety case for a deep geological disposal facility (GDF) for radioactive waste. Structural and chemical changes induced by α-particle damage will affect these mineral’s performance as a reactive barrier material (both in the near and far-field) over timescales relevant to GDF integrity. In this study, two examples of chlorite group minerals have been irradiated at α-particle doses comparable to those predicted to be experienced by the clay buffer material surrounding high level radioactive waste canisters. Crystallographic aberrations induced by the focused 4He2+ ion beam are revealed via high-resolution, microfocus X-ray diffraction mapping. Interlayer collapse by up to 0.5 Å is prevalent across both macro- and micro-crystalline samples, with the macro-crystalline specimen displaying a breakdown of the phyllosilicate structure into loosely-connected, multi-oriented crystallites displaying variable lattice parameters. The damaged lattice parameters suggest a localised breakdown and collapse of the OH- rich, ‘brucite-like’ interlayer. Microfocus Fe K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy illustrates this defect accumulation, manifest as a severe damping of the X-ray absorption edge. Subtle Fe2+/Fe3+ speciation changes are apparent across the damaged structures. A trend towards Fe reduction is evident at depth in the damaged structures at certain doses (8.76 x 1015 alpha particles/ cm2). Interestingly, this reductive trend does not increase with radiation dose, indeed at the maximum dose (1.26 x 1016 alpha particles/ cm2) administered in this study, there is evidence for a slight increase in Fe binding energy, suggesting the development of a depth-dependant redox gradient concurrent with light ion damage. At the doses examined here, these damaged structures are likely highly reactive, as sorption capacity will, to an extent, be largely enhanced by lattice disruption and an increase in available ‘edge’ sites.

Journal Keywords: chlorite; radiation damage; alpha particles; geodisposal; bentonite; montmorillonite; synchrotron microfocus; radioactive waste

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science


Instruments: I18-Microfocus Spectroscopy