Contamination of Stainless Steel Components with Stable Caesium and Strontium Isotopes

  • Amy Taylor-Underhill

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


This M.Phil. thesis investigates the effects of the environment on caesium (Cs) and strontium (Sr) contamination of as received and cold rolled Type 304H stainless steel. Stable (non radioactive) isotopes were used in the experiments, to simulate surface contamination of components in the nuclear industry through radioactive counterparts. The contamination was monitored using Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy (GDOES). The parameters of time, pH and cold work were investigated to determine the most favourable contamination conditions.The effect of pH using acidic, neutral and alkaline environments were investigated for both caesium and strontium. A slight increase of Cs contamination was observed on Type 304H coupons as the pH increased, mainly observed in the Cs carbonate environments, and an exponential increase in Sr contamination on the Type 304H coupons was observed as the pH increased.A number of coupons were cold rolled to a deformation of 5% and 30%, and compared to as received samples to investigate the effect cold work on Cs and Sr contamination. There was a small effect on caesium contamination, increasing slightly with an increase in strain. However, no trend was observed between Sr contamination and cold work. It was concluded from this study that Sr contaminates Type 304H steel more readily than Cs. It was found that Sr penetrated further into the bulk of the steel and did not desorb with a change in pH. The most promising environment for strontium contamination was a strontium / sodium hydroxide solution. The most promising environment for Cs contamination was using Cs carbonate.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDirk Engelberg (Supervisor), Francis Livens (Supervisor) & Katherine Morris (Supervisor)


  • Strontium
  • caesium
  • stainless steel
  • contamination

Cite this