Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2011

Capstone Advisor

Not Listed

Honors Reader

Not Listed

Capstone Major

Biomedical and Chemical Engineering

Capstone College

Engineering and Computer Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Chemical Engineering | Other Chemical Engineering


The purpose of this project was to develop a laboratory experiment to be conducted by future Nuclear Engineering Track (NET) students that adequately demonstrates adsorption of the lanthanide neodymium, an extraction technique used in nuclear fuel reprocessing. Nuclear fuel reprocessing is the chemical separation of various elemental components in spent nuclear fuel. These components, once isolated, can be recycled or reused and ultimately minimize the volume of radioactive waste. There were several steps taken to accomplish this task. First, an independent study of Dr. Hyung Jun Park’s work on phosphorus based adsorbents was conducted. Research was also done on current nuclear fuel reprocessing techniques and how it related to Dr. Park’s work. The adsorbent that was the major outcome of his work was used as the basis of the experiment design. Materials needed for the experiment such as a Masterflex peristaltic pump, columns, micropipettes, test vials, graduated cylinders, chemicals and other supporting equipment were purchased. As well, the department’s inductively couple plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) was repaired to use in this laboratory experiment.

Two separate procedures were created for future students and laboratory supervisors. The first was an experiment preparation procedure which specified in detail what solutions needed to be made prior to conducting the experiment, as well as how and when to reload the packed bed column. The second procedure made was the experimental procedure. This specifies step-by-step how students should conduct the batch and column portion of the experiment. It also describes how dilutions should be made prior to running them through the ICP-MS and what calculations are required from the results.

The final part of the project was to run the experiment according to the specified procedure using the purchased laboratory equipment to test its efficacy. All samples were run through the ICP-MS to determine concentration. The results of the experiment are in a supplementary laboratory report. This includes a theory section, experimental results, calculations, conclusions, and recommendations to the procedure. The procedures in this project include these recommendations.

Excellent results were achieved in the experiment. The breakthrough curve is evident and a high percentage of the neodymium was stripped. The experiment is currently located in Link 024 and ready for use by the first group of students who take the NET laboratory. The goal of this lab is to teach students about nuclear fuel reprocessing, as well as common extraction techniques which are used over a variety of majors and industries. This is one of three experiments that students will partake in. This experiment will adequately display the process of adsorption, a technique common in industry and may become more prevalent in the up-and-coming field of nuclear fuel reprocessing.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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