Design of experiments in 241Am alpha source preparation by electrodeposition: an approach to process optimization
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This work describes a procedure to improve the quality of an 241Am alpha source obtained by means of electrodeposition. The technique of design of experiments (DoE) was applied in order to perform a multivariate analysis of the experimental variable effects taking into consideration the following: i—amperage, d—cathode–anode distance, t—time and PP—polishing process. A 34−2 fractional design was employed using four experimental factors, three levels per factor, and three response variables were studied: Harea = electrodeposited active area, %R = activity recovery percentage, and Δ1/2 = width at half-height. Thanks to this simple design, 9 experiments were enough, done in triplicate, to discern how Δ1/2 and %R are modified when experimental factors change. Additionally, this work provides tools to perform effect statistical analysis of experimental factors, and to pose linear models applying significant terms. The models obtained were validated by analysis of variance and they were of help to verify the choice of significant factors by means of DoE and to approximate to the optimization of the preparation method of a 241Am alpha source by means of contour plots of Δ1/2 and %R.
KeywordsDesign of experiments Optimization Alpha source 241Am Alpha spectrometry Electrodeposition
This work would not have been done without the support and encouragement of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), Argentina. The author would like to thank Mr. Hugo Equillor (NRA) for his productive talks and helpful contributions about detections by alpha spectrometry. Thanks must also be given to Dr. Jorge Magallanes (National Atomic Energy Commission) for his advice and comments on experimental design techniques, as well as for providing the linear model calculation tool in MatLab. The author once again wishes to thank Mr. Fabio Oscar López (NRA) and Ms. Cecilia Esther Lewis (NRA) for endorsing this work and showing special interest in the application of chemometric techniques in the Environmental Management Department of NRA. Finally, thanks are to the translator, María Laura Fauaz, for her work.
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