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Decontamination Foam for Chemical Spill Mitigation
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The release of hazardous chemicals poses a threat to individuals in the area of a release and to responders who attempt to limit the damage of the release. For a liquid phase spill, the most common decontamination technology is a sodium hypochlorite and water solution. Although this solution has been proven effective against a variety of contaminants, it also has a host of drawbacks. Therefore, there is a need for an industrial decontamination solution that is noncorrosive, nontoxic, nonflammable, and environmentally safe. The military has developed a solution using hydrogen peroxide as well as a quaternary ammonium complex that is currently used to decontaminate chemical and biological warfare agents, which may be adapted to fit the needs in industry. Additionally, turning this liquid solution into foam may prove even more effective while reducing the cost. In order to test foam application, a foam generator was built in house. This foam generator was newly designed and built with features allowing for the study of foam production. A protected derivative of cysteine was chosen as the surrogate for a hazardous industrial contaminant. This derivative allowed for the study of non-polar decontamination due to the attachment of non-polar functional groups to the cysteine molecule. Liquid phase decontamination was conducted using both decontamination foam solution and decontamination solution without surfactant. All reaction analysis was carried out using GC-MS to determine the extent of reaction. The decontamination effect was conducted using the foam generator and a test apparatus, which were able to show the successful decontamination of the contaminant in as little as 20 minutes.
Harding, Brian Zachary (2016). Decontamination Foam for Chemical Spill Mitigation. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from