Precursor-Derived Nanostructured Silicon Carbide Based Materials for Magnetohydrodynamic Electrode Applications


Two potential models of the carbon dispersion<br/>within the SiC bulk (a) Isolated carbon clusters<br/>embedded in the remaining phase (b) Graphene<br/>cages encapsulating the remaining phase
Two potential models of the carbon dispersion
within the SiC bulk (a) Isolated carbon clusters
embedded in the remaining phase (b) Graphene
cages encapsulating the remaining phase
University of Washington
Website:  University of Washington
Award Number:  FE0023142
Project Duration:  10/01/2014 – 09/30/2018
Total Award Value:  $399,989
DOE Share:  $399,989
Performer Share:  $0
Technology Area:  University Training and Research
Key Technology:  Innovative Energy Concepts
Location:  Seattle, Washington

Project Description

The University of Washington (UW) will develop a novel class of Silicon carbide (SiC)-based ceramic composite materials with tailored compositions for channel applications in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generators. The project will investigate the effect of precursor chemistry (specifically C/Si) and processing conditions (e.g. temperature) on the nanodomain structure, resultant stoichiometry, nature of the carbon phase (e.g. graphene sheets, carbon nanoparticles) and the resulting, thermo-mechanical properties at elevated temperatures. Combinatorial Materials Exploration protocol will be used to select the minor constituent X in Si-C-X, and investigate its effect on the electrical properties, including thermionic emissions and arching property for use in MHD generators. Important parameters to be investigated are the domain size, the type and distribution of carbon, the size and volume fraction of crystalline SiC and the constituent X. The interaction of these materials with plasma as a first step toward understanding the plasma induced degradation process will be investigated using a newly developed “High Density Plasma-Materials Testing Facility” that was previously designed and built on the UW campus.

Project Benefits

Making SiC-based materials with nanostructured features and by tailoring the composition, the high temperature resistance, the electrical properties and plasma resistance of SiC will improve relative to that for SiC produced by conventional powder processing approaches using solid state sintering. This project could lead to an emergence of reliable and affordable materials for MHD applications. Overall, this could lead to increased fuel utilization and a reduction in the cost and environmental impact of generating electricity from coal.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Otis Mills:
Technology Manager 
Briggs White:
Principal Investigator 
Fumio Ohuchi:

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