Investigations into the Effect of Current Velocity on Amidoxime-Based Polymeric Uranium Adsorbent Performance Report uri icon



  • The Fuel Resources Program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE), Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) is developing adsorbent technology to extract uranium from seawater. This technology is being developed to provide a sustainable and economically viable supply of uranium fuel for nuclear reactors (DOE, 2010). Among the key environmental variables to understand for adsorbent deployment in the coastal ocean is what effect flow-rates or linear velocity has on uranium adsorption capacity. The goal is to find a flow conditions that optimize uranium adsorption capacity in the shortest exposure time. Understanding these criteria will be critical in choosing a location for deployment of a marine adsorbent farm. The objective of this study was to identify at what linear velocity the adsorption kinetics for uranium extraction starts to drop off due to limitations in mass transport of uranium to the surface of the adsorbent fibers. Two independent laboratory-based experimental approaches using flow-through columns and recirculating flumes for adsorbent exposure were used to assess the effect of flow-rate (linear velocity) on the kinetic uptake of uranium on amidoxime-based polymeric adsorbent material. Time series observations over a 56 day period were conducted with flow-through columns over a 35-fold range in linear velocity from 0.29 to 10.2 cm/s, while the flume study was conducted over a narrower 11-fold range, from 0.48 to 5.52 cm/s. These ranges were specifically chosen to focus on the lower end of oceanic currents and expand above and below the linear velocity of ~ 2.5 cm/s adopted for marine testing of adsorbent material at PNNL.

publication date

  • 2015


report identifier

  • PNNL-24996