In this study, the various degradation products of cellulose will be identified and quantified. Moreover, the influence of irradiation, temperature, pH and the presence of oxygen on the degradation products will be investigated at different points in time.
Cellulosic material in the form of paper tissues was subjected to a range of conditions (high pH, elevated temperature, absence/presence of oxygen and irradiation) to provoke degradation. The subsequent degradation products are to be analysed by ESI-ToF MS technique. This is a mass spectrometry (MS) technique using electrospray ionisation (ESI). ESI produces an aerosol of ions by applying a high voltage on a liquid sample, which subsequently goes through a Time-of-Flight (ToF) mass analyzer resulting in a specific spectrum that allows to identify the molecules in the liquid. To optimize the ESI-MS method for these samples, commercially available, isolated degradation products that are known from literature, will be injected separately. This will allow the unraveling of the more complex MS spectra of the actual cellulose degradation samples.
During this master thesis, the focus will be on analytical, organic chemistry, having a broader scope within radioactive waste management. This research is part of the Cement-Organic-Radionuclide Interactions (CORI) work package, within the European Joint Programme on Radioactive Waste Management (EURAD). The work will be done at SCK CEN, where the necessary equipment, installation and materials are present.