Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sheng Dai

Committee Members

Sheng Dai, Thanh D. Do, Konstantinos D. Vogiatzis, Yanwen Zhang


The interest in the use of nuclear power has increased drastically in recent years. This is due to significantly increased efficiency at producing energy when compared to fossil fuels. With the increased use of nuclear power comes an increased need to for monitor for uranium bearing materials outside of regulatory control. This dissertation covers four projects aimed at improving the analysis of these materials. The first projects aims to develop a method that allows for the analysis of elements that exist in nature as anions by triple quadrupole ICP – MS. This would allow for the ability to measure more potential attributes of uranium bearing materials with the added benefits provided by ICP – MS such as lower limits of detection. The second project sought to apply this method to the analysis of a Springfield sample set of uranium ore concentrates, and to compare the results to that obtained by pyrohydrolysis with ion chromatography. The next project was the development of a separation method that would allow for the separation of the Hf-Lu, Rb-Sr, Nd-Sm, Pb and U systems with only one aliquot of sample used. This would be especially useful in cases where there is very little sample available. The final project involves another separation although this is a liquid-liquid extraction of Nd in ionic liquid. For this project potentiometric titrations were performed to determine the proton affinity distribution of various ligands to better understand their potential usefulness in the separation of rare earth elements from the nuclear fuel cycle. A spectrophotometric method was also validated in order to determine the stability constant of a complex formed between a ligan and Nd. Each of these projects aims towards providing analytical techniques for that analysis materials that could be collected during the nuclear fuel cycle.

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