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Process optimization is necessary for the design and development of materials with new performances and high functionality, able to operate under aggressive conditions such as those of the waste energy plants, the systems for solar cells, the fossil fuel systems or the innovative nuclear systems (subcritical reactors, Generation IV reactors).

For design and development of new products, the computer modeling approach is particularly relevant and effective, but the achievement of results is still hampered by a lack of reliable input data for numerical simulations. Among them the data of the thermophysical properties of the liquid phase, play a key role. Unfortunately, for many metallic systems, such data are not yet available or reliable. The lack is caused by the inherent difficulty of handling liquid alloys in a conventional measurement device where the interactions at the interface between the liquid metal and the container affects the measurement results. In response to these needs, the participation to several ESA MAP projects is focused on the measurement of thermophysical properties (density, surface tension, viscosity,) of industrial alloys in the liquid phase such as the Ni-based superalloys for the turbine blades with emphasis on measurements under reduced gravity conditions, on parabolic flights as preparatory experiments on the ISS (International Space Station), aimed to increase the possibility to obtain reliable data.

  • Surface tension of molten Ni-based superalloys as a function of temperature measured by pinned drop method
  • sessile/pendant drop combined method (Fe @ T=1700°C)
  • pinned-large drop (Sn in Sapphire cup)

Furthermore, the knowledge and competencies on liquid metal technologies have been applied to the qualification of reference materials for the Gen IV reactors with particular attention to the concepts of lead fast reactor (LFR), that are the subject of several EURATOM projects. The analysis of the corrosion behavior of different structural materials (martensitic and austenitic steels, ODS steels) in contact with liquid Pb, allowed a proper selection of materials and procedures for the HLM technologies. The physical-chemical conditions against the corrosion phenomena have been defined and the study of the chemistry of heavy liquid metal as coolant through the monitoring and the control of the dissolved oxygen has been shown as fundamental.

    • Study and determination of thermophysical properties of liquid metal and alloys: ternary alloys Al-Ti-X (X = Nb, Ni , V), Al-Ni-based superalloys (e.g. CMSX; René etc ..); intermetallic Al and Al-Ti based alloys; Cu alloys,etc.
    • Design and optimization of measurement methods and procedures
    • Support to microgravity experiments on parabolic flights, sounding rockets and ISS.
    • Thermodynamic models for predicting surface and bulk properties of liquid metal systems
    • Qualification of structural materials for GEN IV and ADS reactors
    • Characterization of protective barriers against liquid metal corrosion and development of systems for monitoring and measuring the oxygen in liquid metal.
Isotense of ternary Al-Ni-Co as base system of Ni based superalloys
Corrosion behavior of T91 in liquid lead @ different T for an exposure time t=550h

Contact angle of liquid Pb on ODS 12Cr steel vs T
    liquid metals thermophysical properties industrial alloys control of oxygen surfaces thermodynamic models experiments in microgravity international space station liquid metal corrosion sustainable nuclear energy

    • D Giuranno, S Amore, R Novakovic, E Ricci
      Surface tension and density of RENE N5® and RENE 90® Ni-based superalloys
      Journal of Materials Science 50 (10), 3763-3771 (2015)
    • S Amore, F Valenza, D Giuranno, R Novakovic, G Dalla Fontana, L.Battezzati and E Ricci
      Thermophysical properties of some Ni-based superalloys in the liquid state relevant for solidification processing
      Journal of Materials Science, 1-12, (2015)
    • R Nowak, T Lanata, N Sobczak, E Ricci, D Giuranno, R Novakovic
      Surface tension of γ-TiAl-based alloys
      Journal of Materials Science 45 (8), 1993-2001(2010)
    • Di Gabriele F., Amore S., Scaiola C.Arato S. Giuranno D., Novakovic R., Ricci E.
      Corrosion behaviour of 12Cr-ODS steel in molten lead
      Nuclear Engineering and Design, 2014
    • 5. Gnecco F, Ricci E., Bottino, A. Passerone A.
      Corrosion behaviour of steels in lead-bismuth at 823 K
      Journal of Nuclear Materials, vol. 335, pp. 185-188

    • MAP-ESA/ASI THERMOPROP:Thermophysical Properties of Liquid Metals for Industrial Process Design
    • EERA-JPNM Pilot Project proposals: 1) MOLECOS (MOlten LEad and lead bismuth COrrosion of Steels) and 2) MOSEL (MOdelling Steel Embrittlement by heavy Liquid metals)
    • FP7-MATISSE (MATerial’s Innovetions for a Safe and Sustainable nuclear in Europe)
    • FP7-MATTER (MATerial TEsting and Rules)
    • FP7-HeLiMnet (HEavy Liquid Metal NETwork ) Coordinamento ICMATE
    • FP7-GETMAT (GEneration IV and Transmutation MATerials)