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Portland Cement Based Immobilization/Destruction of Chemical Weapon Agent Degradation Products

Walling, Sam A., Notman, Stuart, Watts, Pat, Govan, Norman, Provis, John L.
Industrial & engineering chemistry process design and development 2019 v.58 no.24 pp. 10383-10393
calcium silicate, cement, heat, nerve agents
The direct immobilization and destruction of two compounds relevant to chemical warfare agents, ethyl methylphosphonic acid (EMPA) and thiodiglycol (TDG), within a freshly mixed Portland cement paste was studied. Cement hydration and phase formation were analyzed to determine the upper limits on the loading of these chemicals achievable in an immobilization setting. EMPA, a degradation product of the nerve agent VX, alters the phase formation within the cements, allowing calcium aluminate dissolution while retarding hydration of calcium silicate clinker phases. This yielded ettringite, and sufficient calcium silicate hydrate for setting at 10 wt % loading, but the cohesive calcium silicate binding phase was lacking when EMPA was added at 25 wt %. The addition of TDG, a degradation product of sulfur mustard, uniformly retards the entire range of cement hydration mechanisms. Heat output was lowered and extended over a longer time frame, and less strength forming phases were produced. Up to 10% wt. TDG could be accommodated by the cement, but higher loadings caused severe disruption to the cement setting. This work demonstrates the ability of Portland cement to directly incorporate up to 10% wt. of these contaminants, and still form a stable set cement with conventional hydration phases.