The invention relates to an improved apparatus and method for initiating and sustaining an oxidation reaction. A hazardous waste, is introduced into a reaction zone within a pressurized containment vessel. An oxidizer, preferably hydrogen peroxide, is mixed with a carrier fluid, preferably water, and the mixture is heated until the fluid achieves supercritical conditions of temperature and pressure. The heating means comprise cartridge heaters placed in closed-end tubes extending into the center region of the pressure vessel along the reactor longitudinal axis. A cooling jacket surrounds the pressure vessel to remove excess heat at the walls. Heating and cooling the fluid mixture in this manner creates a limited reaction zone near the center of the pressure vessel by establishing a steady state density gradient in the fluid mixture which gradually forces the fluid to circulate internally. This circulation allows the fluid mixture to oscillate between supercritical and subcritical states as it is heated and cooled.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation.
The Government has certain rights in the invention.