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  • Author or Editor: N. Reguigui x
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Abstract  

In the phosphoric acid production process, the time a particle spends inside the chemical reactor (residence time) is of paramount importance to process engineers. Residence time distribution (RTD) gives information on the efficiency of the chemical reactor, on the efficiency of the process, and also the availabilities of the reactive volume for the reaction (active volume vs. dead volume). Traditionally, chemical engineers used chemical tracer to determine the RTD. However, first disadvantage is that the chemical tracer could not allow an online diagnosis: the samples containing chemical tracer have to go to a lab for analysis, second disadvantage is that the chemical tracer is less sensitive than radioactive ones because of its adsorption onto strata or its retention in rocks. Consequently, chemical tracer results are not always precise and cannot convincingly explain the multiple flow-path model. Radioactive tracers are the only tracers capable of measuring the active RTD with high degree of precision and give information on the internal recirculation rate. In this work, we will describe the application of radiotracer method for RTD measurement in the phosphoric acid production process and give results and discussion of each case encountered.

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Abstract  

Phosphates, naturally containing trace amounts of uranium, were examined using direct γ-ray spectrometry. Both normal and Compton-suppressed counting modes were utilized. The 1001 keV photo peak of the second daughter of 238U was chosen because of its isolation from other, potentially interfering peaks. The findings suggest that with the aid of Compton suppression, it is possible to quantify low uranium levels in phosphates using samples sizes of order 10 grams within an accuracy of 5%. The uranium content was determined in several sample types and was found to range from 60±4 to 70±8 μg/g, depending on the sample composition. This investigation also considered the effects of sample size, counting time, and counting technique as sources of precision maximization. This work has shown that only a small amount of phosphate is needed to determine the constituent concentration, instead of the standard several hundred grams of material.

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