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The corrosion of depleted uranium in terrestrial and marine environments

Toque, C.; Milodowski, A.E.; Baker, A.C.. 2014 The corrosion of depleted uranium in terrestrial and marine environments. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 128. 97-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.01.001

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Abstract/Summary

Depleted Uranium alloyed with titanium is used in armour penetrating munitions that have been fired in a number of conflict zones and testing ranges including the UK ranges at Kirkcudbright and Eskmeals. The study presented here evaluates the corrosion of DU alloy cylinders in soil on these two UK ranges and in the adjacent marine environment of the Solway Firth. The estimated mean initial corrosion rates and times for complete corrosion range from 0.13 to 1.9 g cm−2 y−1 and 2.5–48 years respectively depending on the particular physical and geochemical environment. The marine environment at the experimental site was very turbulent. This may have caused the scouring of corrosion products and given rise to a different geochemical environment from that which could be easily duplicated in laboratory experiments. The rate of mass loss was found to vary through time in one soil environment and this is hypothesised to be due to pitting increasing the surface area, followed by a build up of corrosion products inhibiting further corrosion. This indicates that early time measurements of mass loss or corrosion rate may be poor indicators of late time corrosion behaviour, potentially giving rise to incorrect estimates of time to complete corrosion. The DU alloy placed in apparently the same geochemical environment, for the same period of time, can experience very different amounts of corrosion and mass loss, indicating that even small variations in the corrosion environment can have a significant effect. These effects are more significant than other experimental errors and variations in initial surface area.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.01.001
ISSN: 0265931X
Date made live: 05 Jun 2014 15:08 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/507371

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