ISO 16797:2004 describes the Soxhlet-mode parameter test to assess the chemical durability of materials by measuring the initial dissolution rate in pure water. The measurement is performed at the boiling point of water, at which the dissolution rate is considerably higher than at room temperature. In most cases, the alteration phenomena are therefore significantly accelerated. The test is applicable to vitrified matrixes for high-level redioactive waste.
The test described in ISO 16797:2004 is intended to measure the initial dissolution rate; it is thus applicable only to nonporous materials (or materials with small, closed porosity) for which the primary alteration phenomenon is a surface reaction mechanism (diffusion mechanisms are involved in the dissolution of porous media). The test results can therefore be compared only with findings obtained for nonporous materials if serious errors of interpretation are to be avoided.
The resulting "initial dissolution rate in pure boiling water at atmospheric pressure" can be used to compare materials of the same type (e.g. oxides), provided their initial dissolution is governed by the same mechanism (e.g. surface reactions).
This parameter test cannot be used to assess the long-term behaviour of a material, which generally requires several tests, modelling and validation, as described, for example, in Standard ENV 12920.
This test is applicable to any glass, vitrified material (i.e. material resulting from a vitrification process) or nonporous oxide material with a morphology that allows the preparation of monolithic test coupons of known surface area. It determines the initial dissolution rate of the material in deionized water at the boiling point (approximately 100 °C) by analysis of the leaching solution and by measurement of the specimen mass loss.