Accession Number:

ADA359192

Title:

Alkaline Hydrolysis/Biodegradation of Nitrocellulose Fines

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING RESEARCH LAB (ARMY) CHAMPAIGN IL

Report Date:

1998-08-01

Pagination or Media Count:

133.0

Abstract:

Cellulose nitrate constitutes an important industrial feedstock, with applications ranging from fingernail polish and photographic films, to explosives. The high level of nitration required for these explosive materials creates a significant environmental problem with respect to the necessary degradation of waste fines inevitably discharged from their manufacturing operations. These waste solids have proven to be remarkably stable, leading to a traditional reliance on open-field incineration as a means of disposal. This research explored an alternative degradation procedure to eliminate the waste fines based on alkaline hydrolysis followed by biodegradation. In particular, the effort focused on optimizing the hydrolysis operation in terms of solids reduction, practicality, and cost. In addition, biodegradation studies were conducted on the resulting hydrolysate to determine under what conditions amenability to biodegradation was maximized. Primarily using sodium hydroxide at low concentrations and temperatures, this research effort successfully achieved complete solubilization and denitration of the nitrocellulose. The resulting hydrolysate, containing significant concentrations of nitrite and nitrate, proved to be substantially amenable to aerobic biodegradation by an acclimated, mixed bacterial culture.

Subject Categories:

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Plastics
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE