Includes references The main objective of this study was to model and simulate a reduced three-dimensional (3D) model for designing the driving system of an automatic vacuum packer. The 3D reduced model consisted of a pressing board sub-model, a taping sub-model, and a vibrating board sub-model. The reduced 3D model was parameterised using the variable of pouch thickness. The sub-models were driven by three virtual motors. To fulfil the required processing capacity of 6 pouches min-1 (pouch size of 45 cm by 35 cm; 5 kg-1 pouch) of the vacuum packer, three rotational motions for the motors were properly designed. When sub-models were driven according to the developed motions, the rated powers of the motors were estimated to be 100, 25, and 90 W, respectively. A real prototype of the vacuum packer was manufactured and controlled according to the developed motions to validate the simulation results. The motors determined by simulating the reduced 3D model drove the three units of the real prototype successfully. The developed motions of the motors satisfied the required operating sequences of the vacuum packer with a processing capacity of 6.7 pouches min-1. Vacuum-packaging tests showed that the success rate of the vacuum packer was 92.6%.
chromatography, chemical analysis, thermoplastics, isotopes, automation, separation, anion exchange, radioactive isotopes, fuels, uranium, and europium
The use of a centrifugal microfluidic platform is for the first time reported as an alternative to classical chromatographic procedures for radiochemistry. The original design of the microfluidic platform has been thought to fasten and simplify the prototyping process with the use of a circular platform integrating four rectangular microchips made of thermoplastic. The microchips, dedicated to anion-exchange chromatographic separations, integrate a localized monolithic stationary phase as well as injection and collection reservoirs. The results presented here were obtained with a simplified simulated nuclear spent fuel sample composed of non-radioactive isotopes of Europium and Uranium, in proportion usually found for uranium oxide nuclear spent fuel. While keeping the analytical results consistent with the conventional procedure (extraction yield for Europium of ≈97%), the use of the centrifugal microfluidic platform allowed to reduce the volume of liquid needed by a factor of ≈250. Thanks to their unique “easy-to-use” features, centrifugal microfluidic platforms are potential successful candidates for the downscaling of chromatographic separation of radioactive samples (automation, multiplexing, easy integration in glove-boxes environment and low cost of maintenance).