X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry and evolved gas analysis of aged plutonium tetrafluoride (PuF4)
A 30 year-old PuF4 sample consisting of brown powder (PuF4-b) and pink granules (PuF4-p) was analyzed. X-ray difraction shows the bulk is comprised of three compounds: PuF4, PuO2, and PuF4·1.6H2O. Broadening of PuF4 XRD peaks suggests possible a-damage. After annealing at 650 °C, crystalline PuF4 and PuO2 remain. Thermogravimetric analysis and diferential scanning calorimetry—with simultaneous evolved gas analysis—of the separated PuF4-p and PuF4-b components reveal a distinct sequence of reactions. Dehydration occurs between~90 and 300 °C. Exothermic annealing of the a-damage occurs in two stages: at 350–355 °C and at 555–558 °C. Hydrofuoric acid, fuorine and helium desorb during the frst exotherm. Above 700 °C, PuF4 reacts with PuO2, resulting in oxygen release and mass loss.