Tungsten (Wf/W) Composites

Abstract

Turbines with increased process temperatures in power plants, receivers in solar thermic power plants, melting crucibles in LED production, high power relays for energy saving light management and flywheels for energy storage and management – they all require the availability of high temperature materials that are resistant to cracking and show advanced strength. Tungsten composite materials tested at the Research Center Juelich offer a promising solution to these needs.

Description

Characteristics of Wf/W CompositesConventional materials for Fusion Energy applications are mostly limited by their material parameters especially at temperatures higher than 600 °C where neutron damage easily occurs causing embrittlement of the material. Subsequent cracking and possible failure is a serious problem in reactor wall components that are exposed to both stationary and transient heat loads and thus constantly subjected to thermal cycles, with the consequence that the materials used might not maintain their properties over time. In an analogy with fibre-reinforced materials in the case of carbon, tungsten fibres could be used to build composite materials that are more resistant to cracking. This could suppress the propagation of cracks at the surface of wall targets. Initial samples for use in fusion reactors have been developed and studies on resilience successfully conducted at Research Center Juelich.

Innovations and advantages of the offer

HIP Wf/W Samples showing intact interface after HIPingTests of Wf/W Composites consisting of fiber, interface, and matrix have proven to yield superior mechanical properties in tests at the Research Center Juelich: controlled crack deflection at fiber/matrix interface, internal energy dissipation at interfacial de-bonding and less influence of operational embrittlement (recrystallization and neutron damage). This allows the application of Wf/W Composites in processes with high operating temperatures.

Application

In the fusion domain, tungsten composites can contribute to reduction in cracking in reactor walls. Outside the fusion domain potential applications for tungsten composites include: Turbines with increased process temperatures in power plants, receivers in solar thermic power plants, melting crucibles for the production of LEDs, high power relays for energy saving light management, and flywheels for energy storage and management.

Comments on the technology by the broker

This technology has been identified in the framework of the FUTTA (Fusion Technology Transfer Action) project, funded by the European Commission, and with the collaboration of Eurofusion. It constitutes an example for a promising technology that is expected to provide a substantial transfer potential from the Nuclear Fusion domain towards other domains including Space.

Description of Fusion Heritage

In the fusion domain, both stationary and transitory heat loads can act on the reactor wall with the risk of cracking and possible failure as materials used will not maintain their properties over time. Analogous to fibre-reinforced materials in the case of carbon, tungsten fibres could be used to build composite materials that are more resistant to cracking and could suppress the propagation of cracks at the surface of wall targets.

 

    

Category
Materials
Reference No.
TDF0019
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