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A thermal blanket is a device used in thermal desorption to clean soil contamination. The primary function of a thermal blanket is to heat the soil to the boiling point of the contaminants (usually 100 to 325 °C). The contaminants break down. A vacuum pulls the resulting gas (along with some contaminants) into a separate air cleaner that may use various methods, such as carbon filters and high-heat ovens, to completely destroy the contaminants.
Deep contamination is handled using a similar method with a deep penetrating heat source. This is commonly referred to as an in situ thermal desorption (ISTD) thermal well.
There is a concern that as a contaminant becomes heated, it may leak outside of the area of the thermal blanket. Therefore, the blanket must completely cover the contaminated area and have a strong enough vacuum to prohibit the spread of contaminations.
This method has not been effectively tested on organic contaminants.
- I. E. T. Iben; W. A. Edelstein; R. B. Sheldon; A. P. Shapiro; E. E. Uzgiris; C. R. Scatena; S. R. Blaha; W. B. Silverstein; G. R. Brown; G. L. Stegemeier & H. J. Vinegar (1985). "Thermal Blanket for In-Situ Remediation of Surficial Contamination: A Pilot Test". Environ. Sci. Technol. 30 (11): 3144–3154. doi:10.1021/es9506622.