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Consistent modelling of material weight loss and gas release due to pyrolysis and conducting benchmark tests of the model; A Case for glovebox panel materials such as polymethyl methacrylate

Ono, Takuya; Tashiro, Shinsuke; Amano, Yuki; Yoshida, Naoki  ; Yoshida, Ryoichiro; Abe, Hitoshi 

It is necessary to consider how a glove box's confinement function will be lost when evaluating the amount of radioactive material leaking from a nuclear facility during a fire. In this study, we build a model that consistently explains the weight loss of glove box materials because of heat input from a flame and accompanying generation of the pyrolysis gas. The weight loss suggests thinning of the glove box housing, and the generation of pyrolysis gas suggests the possibility of fire spreading. The target was polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), used as the glove box panel. Thermal gravimetric tests on PMMA determined the parameters to be substituted in the Arrhenius equation for predicting the weight loss in pyrolysis. The pyrolysis process of PMMA was divided into 3 stages with activation energies of 62 kJ/mol, 250 kJ/mol, and 265 kJ/mol. Furthermore, quantifying the gas composition revealed that the composition of the pyrolysis gas released from PMMA can be approximated as 100 percent methyl methacrylate. This result suggests that the released amount of methyl methacrylate can be estimated by the Arrhenius equation. To investigate the validity of such estimation, a sealed vessel test was performed. In this test, we observed increase of the number of gas molecules during the pyrolysis as internal pressure change of the vessel. The number of gas molecules was similar to that estimated from the Arrhenius equation, and indicated the validity of our method. Moreover, we also performed the same tests on bisphenol-A-polycarbonate (PC) for comparison. In case of PC, the number of gas molecules obtained in the vessel test was higher than the estimated value.

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