May 15 – 20, 2022
Casino Conference Centre
Europe/Prague timezone

Novel sample preparation approach to investigate C-14 from iron materail

May 17, 2022, 5:45 PM


Poster Nuclear Analytical Methods Nuclear Analytical Methods


Dr Mihály Molnár (MTA ATOMKI)


In this study, we present a novel approach for C-14 analses of iron material.
C-14 contamination of iron materail could happen in nuclear reactors, where the neutron flux could produce significant amount of C-14 atoms inside the iron based construction elements (vessel wall, tubes, etc). If those elements are going to be disposed in waste, than the C-14 concentration should be measured, reported. On the other hand, artefacts made from wrought iron, could also incorporate some C content from the applied heating material (charcoal, wood), which also deliver a measureble C-14 content into the iron. This C and C-14 might allow the C-14 based dating of the production of the iron tool.
For all the above listed applications, we need a good sample preparation method, to extract the C from the iron, without any external contamination. As the typical concentration is maximum a few percent C in the iron (m/m%), a complete combustion/oxidation of 0.1 - 1 g iron for this purpose is neccessary. We present an elegant way of this preparation, using a LECO C744 type iron - C analyser. The exhaust gas of this automatized oxidizer is applied for trapping the produced CO2, for further isotope analyses. About 1g of iron is completely oxidized within 1 minute by the C744 unit, and the exhaust gas is collected. C yield, and reproducibility of this preparation method is investigated by AMS C-14 analyses of known age iron artefacts, and several C-14 reference materials.
This method could play a major role, when nuclear power plants are decommissioned and huge amount of iron waste has to be classified according their C-14 isotope content.

Primary author

Dr Mihály Molnár (MTA ATOMKI)


Prof. Anthony John Timothy Jull (Institute for Nuclear Research) Mr Balázs Áron Baráth (Institute for Nuclear Research)

Presentation materials

There are no materials yet.