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Home / Publications / Journals / Nuclear Technology / Volume 152 / Number 3

Radioisotope Deposition on Interior Building Surfaces: Air Flow and Surface Roughness Influences

Bobby E. Leonard

Nuclear Technology / Volume 152 / Number 3 / December 2005 / Pages 339-353

Technical Paper / Decontamination/Decommissioning /

Interior surface deposition effects of vaporized radioactive aerosols are important in understanding their behavior in accident conditions such as the Japanese nuclear laboratory accident in 1999 and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, where entire communities had to be abandoned because of surface contamination, and the hopefully unlikelihood of a terrorist dirty nuclear bomb attack. Airborne radon progeny offers an opportunity to study radioisotope surface deposition. A significant annual lung cancer rate is also attributed to airborne radon progeny in the interior domestic environment. Surface deposition rates influence the airborne progeny levels. Here, we report extensive 218Po deposition rates over typical air change rates (ACHs) from 0.02 to 1.0 h-1 for interior furnishings surfaces in a 0.283-m3 test chamber to supplement earlier reported deposition rates for interior wall, ceiling, and floor surfaces. In analyzing the deposition results from the different materials, it is found that they correlate in terms of roughness with relative static friction and aerodynamic shear stress. Extrapolation to perfectly smooth surfaces provides a good estimate of the Fick's law value. Contrary to prior radon analysis at higher air flow, where the Crump and Seinfeld (CS) turbulent deposition models seemed to fit, at low ACH below 0.5 h-1 the deposition data found excellent agreement with a new Brownian diffusive deposition model for laminar flow. A composite model using the Brownian diffusive laminar flow and the CS turbulent flow models provides an excellent fit to all data. These results provide insight into contamination issues relative to other airborne radioisotopes, with the relative effects being dependent on the airborne contaminant particle sizes and their respective diffusion coefficients as seen in the two deposition models.

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