W. Charlton, R. Ghanbari, “Exploration of Ion-Exchanged Glass for Seals Applications”, Proceedings of the INMM 52nd Annual Meeting, Palm Desert, CA, July 17-21, 2011.
As the nuclear industry grows around the globe, it brings with it a need for more safeguards and proliferation resistant technologies. Tags and seals are an area where innovation has been relatively stagnant for the past fifteen years.
Seals are used to maintain the integrity of monitoring enclosures, containers, or perhaps a point of entry. A gap analysis has been completed for passive and active seals currently being used by the IAEA. Several shortcomings of various seals were identified as areas where improvements could be made. In addition, technologies not previously applied to the areas of tags and seals were evaluated for potential use in these applications. These “new” technologies must meet the existing functional requirements and also fill the voids found in current devices. Several of these “new” technologies were selected for further evaluation of implementation feasibility. A promising material to be used in the next generation of seals is stressed glass due to its relatively inexpensive cost, high strength, and potential use in a variety of applications. Furthermore, using ion exchange, complex shapes of glass can be chemically stressed for specific applications.
This process is being considered to be used in conjunction with already existing technologies such as reflective particles. These particles can be contained in adhesive between two pieces of glass, or in the glass matrix if they are added during the fabrication process. This allows for the glass to be cut into the correct shape and then undergo the ion-exchange process. This process increases the strength of the glass and gives it unique fracture characteristics when subjected to a point load. The final product will have both identification and authentication features difficult for an adversary to replicate or defeat. The feasibility of combining these two technologies into an inexpensive and secure seal technology will be demonstrated with a proof of concept prototype.