Thesis Title

Evaluation Of Gamma-Ray Emissions from Fly Ash

Date of Graduation

Summer 2006


Master of Science in Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair

James Zimmerman


For many cities across the United States, including Springfield, Missouri, the source most commonly used to generate electrical power is coal-fired power plants. Power plants emit various pollutants, including low amounts of radioactive particles and particulates through fly ash. Uranium, thorium, and their decay daughters are elements that are present in raw coal, and are concentrated in fly ash due to the combusion process. Emissions of numerous pollutants have been a primary concern for citizens living near power plants. The health effects caused by particulate pollution and radiation from coal have been the most significant. The majority of these fly ash particulates are collected through various scrubbers and filters. Fly ash and raw coal samples were obtained from a local power plant and analyzed for gamma radiation emission using a high purtiy germanium detector. The U-238 and th-232 decay daughters were specifically targeted. From these decay chains, Pb-214 and Bi-214 gamma-ray emissions were measured in both the fly ash and raw coal samples.


power plant, fly ash, particulate, coal, gamma-ray, high-purity germanium detector

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