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Plasma Arc Technology Dedicated to Solving Military Waste Problems
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A thermal plasma is an electrically conductive gas capable of generating temperatures up to 10,000°C near its column. The energy generated by plasma arcs has recently been applied to hazardous waste disposal. Since 1989 the US Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratories have been active participants in research and development toward establishing plasma arc technology (PAT) as an efficient, economical and safe hazardous waste immobilization tool. In the U.S. the removal and disposal of asbestos contaminated material (ACM) generate significant amounts of hazardous waste. Recently, PAT has been used to convert ACM safely and efficiently into an innocuous ceramic substance no longer requiring Class I disposal. In addition to ACM waste disposal, PAT meets the waste disposal needs of pyrotechnic smoke assemblies, thermal batteries, proximity fuses, and contaminated soil. This paper will provide an overview of PAT and discuss Army and Department of Defense hazardous waste disposal needs.
Smith, E. D.; Zaghloul, H. H. (1997). Plasma Arc Technology Dedicated to Solving Military Waste Problems. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from