Decontamination of radionuclides from concrete by microwave heating. I: Theory

Zdeněk P. Bažant, Goangseup Zi

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42 Scopus citations


The paper analyzes a proposed scheme of decontamination of radionuclides from concrete structures, in which rapid microwave heating is used to spall off a thin contaminated surface layer. The analysis is split in two parts: (1) the hygrothermal part of the problem, which consists in calculating the evolution of the temperature and pore pressure fields, and (2) the fracturing part, which consists in predicting the stresses, deformations and fracturing. The former is assumed to be independent of the latter, but the latter is coupled to the former. The heat and moisture transfer governing the temperature and pore pressure fields induced by the decontamination process is analyzed using an improved form of Bažant and Thonguthai's model for heat and moisture transfer in concrete at high temperatures. The rate of the distributed source of heat due to the interaction of microwaves with the water contained in concrete is calculated on the basis of the standing wave normally incident to the concrete wall. Since the microwave time period is much shorter than the time a heating front takes to propagate over the length of microwave, and since concrete is heterogeneous, the ohmic power dissipation rate is averaged over both the time period and the wavelength. The reinforcing bars parallel to the surface are treated as a smeared steel layer. The recently developed microplane model M4 serves as the constitutive model for nonlinear deformation and distributed fracturing of concrete. Application of the present model in numerical computations is relegated to a companion paper which follows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-784
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Concrete
  • Contaminants
  • Contamination
  • Diffusion
  • Heating
  • Microwaves
  • Pore pressure
  • Thermal stresses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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