Scientists created special tools, called thermal dosimeters, for testing Metal Parts Treater temperatures in the Blue Grass main plant.
“This is the tool that lets us verify the material coming out of the Metal Parts Treaters has reached the Army’s standard for decontamination,” said Rachel Thurston, senior research scientist, Battelle Memorial Institute. “There was no equivalent product, so we had to develop one.”
The dosimeters are sealed Pyrex or quartz tubes that contain metal oxide compounds that melt at specific temperatures and are individually etched with serial numbers, Thurston said. The scientists created dosimeters for four exact temperatures to evaluate the different heat zones in the treaters.
“We used hundreds of these dosimeters in our testing process,” said Stephen Greasor, interdisciplinary engineer, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “We placed them inside test munitions, on conveyor trays and other places to ensure the zones were reaching the proper operating temperatures and the munitions would reach proper destruction temperatures. There was no other product available commercially to do this and they were very helpful.”
The Metal Parts Treaters are large chambers heated by electrical induction coils to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure complete decontamination of munitions bodies and other metal parts such as projectile nose closures as part of the chemical munitions destruction process.