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Corrosion of Synthesized Glasses and Glazes as Analogs for Nuclear Waste Glass Degradation

  • Pamela B. Vandiver (a1)

Synthesized glasses and glazes provide an opportunity to study natural corrosion processes which are intermediate in time span between geological examples of natural glasses, such as obsidians and tektites, and relatively short-term laboratory tests lasting a few hours to several decades. Study of these glasses also avoids the question of having to validate artificial aging experiments. Like natural glasses, the synthesized glasses are sufficiently abundant that laboratory studies can be conducted to study the processes, mechanisms and rates of corrosion. In addition, synthesized glasses can usually be tracked to particular archaeological find sites with known dates of production and, often, of burial. Environmental conditions are routinely measured at archaeological sites as a part of the excavation process, so that information is available on the yearly cycling of temperature and relative humidity, sometimes at the depth at which the artifact was found. Whether the artifacts were excavated in an air enclosure, such as a tomb, or in the soil can also be reconstructed. One can also determine whether aqueous or atmospheric corrosion was involved in the degradation process. Because so much glass has been excavated from well-documented contexts, it is inadvisable to study glasses that have no context. For instance, socalled “Roman glass” may span a time period of production of 800 years and a geographical range from Germany to North Africa and from Britain to Afghanistan.

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