The compositions utilized for immobilization of high-level nuclear wastes (HLW) are controlled using glass property models to avoid the deleterious effects of crystallization in the high-level waste (HLW) vitrification melters. The type and size of the crystals that precipitate during melter operations (typically at 1150 °C) and idling (∼1000 °C) are significantly impacted by glass composition and thermal history. This study was conducted to measure the impact of melt composition and heat treatment temperature on crystal size and fraction. A matrix of 31 multi-component glasses canvasing the expected Hanford HLW compositional space was developed and the glasses fabricated, and heat treated at 850, 900, and 950 °C. The crystal amounts, as determined by X-ray diffraction, varied from 0.2 to 41.0 wt.%. Spinel concentrations ranged from 0.0 to 13.8 wt.%. One glass of the matrix did not precipitate spinel and contained 0.2 wt.% RuO2, which was assumed to be undissolved from the melting process. All compositions contained crystals in the as-quenched glass. All of the spinel-based crystals present in the glasses were less than 10 μm in diameter, as determined by scanning electron microscopy with image analysis. Composition and temperature dependent models were generated using the resulting data and the best model fit was obtained by only considering spinel concentrations (R2 = 0.87). Two glasses were unable to be characterized because of an inability to process the glass under the conditions of this study. Those glasses were utilized to give insight into a potential multi-component constraint to aid in future statistical composition designs.


Materials Science and Engineering


U.S. Department of Energy, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

Crystallization; High-level waste glasses; HLW; Scanning electron microscopy; Spinel

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2023 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2019