Materials Performance

Rotary slag test of refractory performance under extreme operating conditions

Rotary slag test of refractory performance
under extreme operating conditions

Emerging energy-production technologies such as gasification, solid oxide fuel cells, and ultra supercritical, fluidized bed, and other advanced combustion processes offer the nation the opportunity to convert coal and other carbon-based fuels to energy more efficiently, and with significantly less environmental impact than current industry standards. However, in many cases simultaneous advances in materials technology are required to meet the performance demands of these new power systems and to ensure the new power plants are both economical and reliable. Experts in metallurgy and ceramics at NETL work with industrial partners in the energy arena to identify materials performance shortfalls and to engineer improved materials that can meet specific performance criteria at an affordable cost.

With a focus on the severe operating environments typical of fossil energy production, research ranges from defining and understanding basic mechanisms of wear and corrosion of materials, and the synergy between them; to providing input on materials performance and specifications for specific operating environments; to developing methodologies for real-time materials performance monitoring in the field. NETL works closely with industry, academia, and government agencies to ensure that research is relevant and effective in addressing materials performance needs that can assure reliability for both current and next-generation energy systems.

NETL's research focuses on increasing the knowledge base of materials performance in several key areas:

  • Materials development for high-temperature, erosive and corrosive environments
  • Real-time materials performance monitoring
  • Corrosion, wear, and failure mechanisms in severe environments
  • Materials protection strategies
  • Lifetime predictions

Research facilities include: the Severe Environment Corrosion Erosion Research Facility (SECERF)  for assessing materials performance in a variety of simulated high-temperature environments typical of fossil energy systems; a complete laboratory for small-scale production and characterization of refractory ceramic materials; melting, casting, and fabrication facilities for metal alloy development; a range of tests simulating erosive and abrasive wear, as well as impact damage; a mechanical testing laboratory for determining mechanical performance at ambient and elevated temperatures; a variety of laboratory and field tests for aqueous corrosion; and an analytical physics laboratory for assessing microstructural and microchemical response to severe environments.

Inasmuch as this research is conducted in concert with industry, NETL understands and respects the need for confidentiality and the value of intellectual property. NETL partnership agreements are designed to protect company-specific proprietary information and intellectual property developed during all collaborations.

For more information visit: Advanced Research - High Performance Materials