Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Jersey Institute Of Technology Physicist Uncovers New Information About Plutonium

Date:
May 9, 2003
Source:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
Summary:
The storage of plutonium has long plagued scientists. Finding a solution to this problem led Savrasov, an associate professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and a team of researchers at Rutgers University and Los Alamos National Laboratories, to study how this metal reacts to heat, a natural condition of storage over time.

NEWARK — The storage of plutonium has long plagued scientists. “It is a dangerous metal and its long term storage must be done with special care so as not to harm the environment, ”said physicist Serguei Savrasov, Ph.D.

Related Articles


Finding a solution to this problem led Savrasov, an associate professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and a team of researchers at Rutgers University and Los Alamos National Laboratories, to study how this metal reacts to heat, a natural condition of storage over time.

The team’s findings are published in the May 9, 2003 issue of Science.

Using a computer simulation, the researchers employed algorithms, to predict that when plutonium is heated, the volume of the plutonium lattice will change and the precise volume of the metal will collapse five percent. The simulation also predicted that heated plutonium deforms differently in various directions.

Other researchers working on the project were Xi Dai, Gabriel Kotliar and Elihu Abrahams, all of Rutgers University, and Albert Migliori and Hassel Ledbetter of Los Alamos National Laboratories, New Mexico. This simulation was the second part of an effort by this team. The April, 2001 issue of Nature reported the findings of several members of this group (S. Savrasov, G. Kotliar, and E. Abrahams). Their findings explored the anomalous expansion of plutonium.

Support for the project included a National Science Foundation Career Development Grant for $400,000, awarded to Savrasov, and a Department of Energy Division of Basic Energy Sciences grant for $300,000 awarded to Kotliar, Abrahams and Sasvrasov.

The new computer simulation by members of the same group plus others focused on why the metal shrinks. “There is an exciting and unusual interplay between the electrons and the plutonium lattice dynamic which is responsible for these unusual properties and why the volume collapses,” said Savrasov.

“It is important for the scientists to do the experiment as a simulation because plutonium is a toxic and radioactive element. It is dangerous for scientists to work with it directly,” added Savrasov.

The computer simulation showed the anisotropic elastic properties of plutonium. “Most metals are isotropic which means that the elastic properties are the same when you are stretching them,” Savrasov said. “But plutonium is anisotropic. When you stretch it in some directions, the metal is very soft. But when you pull it in other directions, it behaves like a typical metal, and is hard to stretch.”

The computer simulation done by the researchers modeled the properties of the plutonium lattice. “When you heat plutonium, it shows six structures and you can see it undergo these transitions,” said Savrasov.

The team modeled two of the six high temperature transitions. “When the plutonium is heated, it acts like popcorn in a microwave,” said Savrasov. “It pops up and increases 30 percent of its size and then after you heat it further, the metal collapses. This behavior is very unusual and unexpected for a metal.”

Savrasov said that such information hopefully will aid material scientists and engineers who are responsible for storing the metal. “Of course scientists know what they are doing, but our research helps them understand more about this metal’s basic properties,” Savrasov said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "New Jersey Institute Of Technology Physicist Uncovers New Information About Plutonium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030509084324.htm>.
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. (2003, May 9). New Jersey Institute Of Technology Physicist Uncovers New Information About Plutonium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030509084324.htm
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "New Jersey Institute Of Technology Physicist Uncovers New Information About Plutonium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030509084324.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

AFP (Dec. 18, 2014) The first flight of Etihad Airways' long-awaited Airbus A380 superjumbo will take place later in December, the Abu Dhabi carrier said Thursday, also announcing its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner route. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins