Study of blend composition of nano silica under the influence of neutron flux
© Huseynov et al.; licensee Springer 2014
Received: 26 April 2014
Accepted: 15 June 2014
Published: 2 August 2014
Nano SiO2 compound with 160 m2/g specific surface area and 20 nm sizes has been irradiated continuously with neutron flux up to 20 hours in various periods in TRIGA Mark II type research reactor. The initial activities of different type radionuclides defined in the result of eight day activity analysis changes between wide range of 1,5 kBq- 1,5GBq. In the result of activity analysis carried out after the irradiation, the element content of 0,5% mixture existing in nano SiO2 compound has been defined with radionuclides of relevant element. It has been defined percentage amounts of elements in blend composition according to the performed activities.
Silicon and its oxide compositions are widely applied in different fields of science and technology for their unique physical, physical-chemical properties and radiation- durability -. In real application conditions the surface of silicon-based materials and devices are covered with oxide layer. The influence of the oxide layer formed on surface on physical properties of base material and effective thickness in terms of defence from subsequent oxidation process are usually in nanometer form. On the other hand nano-size silicon and SiO2 are of great importance for their physical and surface physical-chemical properties.
Oxide compositions of silicon are widely used in electronics, radiation technology and radiochemical processes ,,,,. Conversion of ionizing radiation energy and transfer to surface levels is of great importance for radiative study of materials and radiation technology. From this point of view nano-size SiO2 is a perspective and at the same time an actual model system for study of radiation defect-formation, conversion and transfer processes of ionizing radiation energy. In recent years formation of nano size SiO2 compound and improvement of their purity degree are in the focus of attention of researchers -. At modern period the purity degree of nano silica has been brought to 99,5 – 99,9% and intensive scientific studies are being carried out in order to increase its value.
In the presented work under the influence of neutrons with 2×1013 n/cm2 s intensity it has been studied the dependence of activities of radioactive nucleus, formed in the result of neutron flux in powder and extruded shaped, 99,5% purity, 20 nm size nano SiO2 compound, on integral dose and decomposition time after irradiation. On the base of the achieved results it has been carried out the quality and quantity identification of blends in the composition of nano SiO2 compound.
The sample used in the presented work is widespread in the nature and met in crystalline forms as quartz, rock crystal, flint, opal, etc. In these crystals silica exists with different percentages and “Obsidian” natural glass has more SiO2 percentage (about 70-75% of SiO2) among natural crystals existing in the nature ,. Nowadays, macro silica is treated with several methods and it was available to obtain maximum macro SiO2 (In Egypt) with 99,85% purity. However, the synthesis method of high purity SiO2 nanopowder in nanosize differs slightly and in this case, practically obtain of SiO2 nanopowder with perfect purity (100% purity) is almost impossible . Thus, if purity of nano SiO2 powder obtained before was 75%, at present development of modern technology allowed obtaining SiO2 nanopowder with 99,9% purity -. Nowadays, nano SiO2 compounds with 99–99,9% purity are considered to be high purity nano SiO2 compounds and samples with this purity are of wide application. As it was mentioned before, nano SiO2 compound with 99,5% purity has been used during the experiment, so it can be considered as a high purity nano SiO2 compound. However, the sample contains 0,5% of impurities and even if at first sight it can seem a small indicator, it is very large value in nano-scale and molecule compiling. Therefore, if to take into account that there is approximately 1022 units of particles in atomic level in 1 g of SiO2 nanopowder, then 0,5% to be great value (approximately 5×1019 mixture particle) is obvious. Naturally, 0,5% mixture doesn’t impact the physical parameters of sample, but it clearly manifests itself during irradiation in the reactor and is of great significance.
From previous studies it is known that the specific surface area of nanomaterial used in the experiment is 160 m2/g, dimensions are 20 nm and some parameters of the used sample has been studied -. In the presented work the samples have been irradiated by neutron flux 2×1013 n/cm2s in central channel (Channel A1) of TRIGA Mark II light water pool type research reactor at full power (250 kW) in “Reactor Centre” of Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI) in Ljubljana city of Slovenia. It is important to note that the JSI TRIGA reactor has been thoroughly characterized - and the computational model used for computational characterization has been thoroughly verified and validated , against several experiments. It should be mentioned that in this channel the parameters of neutron flux at full power mode are 5.107×1012 cm−2 s−1 (1 ± 0.0008, En < 625 eV) for thermal neutrons, 6.502x1012 cm−2 s−1 (1 ± 0.0008, En ~ 625 eV ÷ 0.1 MeV) for epithermal neutrons, 7.585x1012 cm−2 s−1 (1 ± 0.0007, En > 0.1 MeV) for fast neutrons and finally for all neutrons the flux density in central channel is 1.920×1013 cm−2 s−1 (1 ± 0.0005) ,.
Radionuclides being formed in composition of nano SiO2 compound after the interaction with neutron have been analysed in spectrometers “Ortec HPGe detectors (Coaxial, Low and Well-Type)” and “Canberra coaxial HPGe detector”. The radioactivity, isotope composition and amount of blend elements of the irradiated samples have been determined on technique -.
3 Results and discussions
In general, it has been observed 7 types of radionuclides, thus their half-life changes from 80,4 hours up to 748,2 hours. For living periods, the observed “I group” radionuclides can be lined up as Sc-47 (80,4 hour), Hf-181 (1017,36 hour), Fe-59 (1067,88 hour), Sb-124 (1444,8 hour), Sc-46 (2010,96 hour), Ta-182 (2753,76 hour) and Mn-54 (7489,2 hour).
The activity of radionuclides included inside II group is up to 70 kBq (Figure 4). It has been observed two type Br-82 and Sb-122 radionuclides that their half-life are 35, 3 h for Br-82 and 64, 8 h for Sb-122 respectively. As it is seen from Figure 4, after 8 days the activity of Br-82 isotope decreased approximately down to 5 kBq, and the activity of Sb-122 down to 10 kBq.
The activity of only one of four radionuclides including to the third group is approximately up to 2 Mbq (for comparison: the activity in tablet form of relevant radionuclide is approximately up to 72 kBq, right column in the fig.) and the activity of other three radionuclides do not exceed 0,6 MBq (Figure 5). Half-lifes of observed radionuclides are 24 h (W-187), 40,32 h (La-140), 46,28 h (Sm-153) and 665 h (Cr-51) and after eight days activity for Cr-51 decreased up to approximately 0,5 MBq, and 0,1 MBq for other ones.
Only one element is included to the last IV group that its activity was approximately up to 1,5 GBq (for comparison: the activity in tablet form of relevant radionuclide is approximately 54 MBq, right column in the fig.). The half-life of observed high activity Na-24 isotope is 14,95 hours and at the end of measurement day the activity of Na-24 isotope decreased approximately down to 0,2 MBq (Figure 6). It can be said that the major part of mixture containing Na-24 isotope which is more active than other ones is the element of Na.
Isotopes generated by neutron activation in nano SiO 2 , number of neutrons spent on activation of one isotope and number of isotopes in percent in sample
Number of capture neutron in each nucleus
Apx. amount of blend (%)
Conditional III and IV radioisotope groups generated in nano-compound under the influence of neutron flux
Conditional I and II radioisotope groups generated in nano-compound under the influence of neutron flux
It has been carried out identification of radioactivity appeared in nano SiO2 under the influence of neutron flux and isotopes that formed radioactivity. It has been revealed dependency of samples’ activity and dose amount on irradiation time and sample dispersity. It has been defined that powdered nano SiO2 possess an activity approximately 25 times higher than the samples made as a tablet in special press form due to the interaction field with neutron to be big. Dependencies of radio activities of the revealed isotopes on observation time and amount of blend elements in percent have been defined. In the studied nano SiO2 samples it has been revealed the isotopes possessing relatively large half-decay time and these isotopes are suggested to be considered in explanation of physical properties of nano SiO2 compound within the period after irradiation.
The work has been carried out on the base of agreement signed between the Institute of Radiation Problems of ANAS and Jozef Stefan Institute of Slovenia. We express our gratitude to colleagues of the Institute of Radiation Problems of ANAS and “Reactor Infrastructure Centre (RIC)” and “Radiation Protection Unit” laboratories of Jozef Stefan Institute of Slovenia. We wish to thank Dr. Luka Snoj and Anze Jazbec for doing experiment with TRIGA Mark II type research reactor and fruitful discussions us.
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