Iron Polyphosphate Glasses for Waste Immobilization


Iron polyphosphate glasses resist attack by water, can dissolve large concentrations of species that are otherwise insoluble in borosilicate glass melts, and can be processed at relatively low temperatures (1000-1200°C), and so are viable hosts for vitrifying hazardous and radioactive wastes. The properties of iron polyphosphate glasses depend on the distributions of phosphate anions and the nature of the bonds between those anions and various metal polyhedra, and quantitative information can be obtained about those structures using a variety of spectroscopic, diffraction, and chromatographic techniques. This structural information helps explain compositional trends in properties, including dissolution rates, electrical conductivity, thermal properties and crystallization tendency. Studies of waste forms made with low activity and high level wastes are reviewed and related back to an understanding of the structures and properties of simpler iron polyphosphate glasses.


Materials Science and Engineering

Second Department

Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science


The authors thank a number of funding agencies that have supported our research on iron phosphate glasses, including the National Science Foundation (DMR-0305202 and DMR-0502463), the Nuclear Energy University Program of the US Department of Energy (NEUP 09-144), and the DOE SBIR/STTR program (Contract # DE-SC0011906), and we thank the many students at Missouri S&T who did the work. The authors greatly appreciate the contributions of Prof. Delbert E. Day and Dr. Chandra S. Ray (Missouri S&T) who, with their students and with the support of the US Department of Energy, first developed iron phosphate glasses as a viable medium for immobilizing nuclear wastes.

Keywords and Phrases

Durability; Glass Forming Melts; Glass Forming Systems; Phosphate; Properties; Redox State; Structure; Surfaces

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2041-1286; 2041-1294

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2020