M.S. Thesis Presentation by Jodi Lopez Sulak
Thursday, April 5, 2001

(Dr. John Valentine, advisor)

"Radon Mitigation Systems Using Fluid-Based Recovery Systems"


A fluid-based system for the recovery of radioactive heavy noble gases was recently developed and tested in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory.  The system was based on the discovery that oils absorb these gases at room temperature and release them at slightly elevated temperatures (50 to 60? C).  One possible application of this technology is the development of a system for radon mitigation. A small prototype system was constructed in order to study the feasibility of such a system.  The system consisted of an absorption sub-system to extract the 222Rn gas and a degassing sub-system to subsequently release the captured gas.  This prototype thus simulated the process of extracting indoor Rn and releasing it to the atmosphere.  3-in-1Ò oil was used as the absorption fluid in this study.  Preliminary characterizations of the oil, the absorption column, and the degassing system were conducted as well as the overall system performance.   The oil characterization experiments showed that 3-in-1Ò has an equilibrium solubility ratio of ~9.7.  The absorption system was successful at removing on average ~47% of the radon in the input air stream while the degassing system was capable of removing ~53% of the radon in saturated oil.  The system as a whole was successful at reducing the effective half-life of radon in a closed system from ~90 hours to ~4.5 hours.  While further studies are called for, successful development of this system could present a more practical and economically advantageous alternative to current remediation methods.