Lab Partnering Service Discovery
Use the LPS faceted search filters, or search by keywords, to narrow your results.
NETL’s Mechanical Testing Laboratory in Albany, OR, helps researchers investigate materials that can withstand the heat and pressure commonly found in fossil energy systems. They use the lab’s state-of-the-art equipment to test the mechanical behavior and performance of materials—in particular, how much pressure it takes to compress them, how much they can be stretched before they break, how they behave in response to cyclical mechanical loads, and under what circumstances they become deformed. They also conduct impact testing to determine a material’s toughness when it experiences a sudden blow, and hot hardness testing to determine how hard a material remains under drastic heating. The knowledge gained from these experiments speeds the development of materials that are rugged enough to be used in the demanding environments associated with cutting-edge energy systems.
These techniques include structural, compositional, and trace analysis probes with the goal of understanding, at atomic and molecular levels, the chemical transformations that occur during battery charging and discharging.
The 10-kilowatt High-Flux Solar Furnace (HFSF) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been in operation since 1990 and consists of a tracking heliostat and 25 hexagonal, slightly concave mirrors to concentrate solar radiation. The solar furnace can quickly generate up to 1,800 °C over a 1-cm2 area—and up to 3,000 °C with specialized secondary optics to generate concentrations greater than 20,000 suns. Flux levels and distributions can also be tailored to the needs of a particular research activity.
The operational characteristics and size of the facility make it ideal for testing over a wide range of technologies with a diverse set of experimental requirements:
- The high-heating rates create the perfect tool for testing high-temperature materials, coatings on metals and ceramics, and other materials-related applications. The power generated can be used to evaluate many components—such as receivers, collectors, and reflector materials—used in concentrating solar power systems.
- The facility can provide a platform for testing prototype advanced converters and chemical reactors for solar-electric and solar-chemistry applications. Researchers can also use the HFSF to evaluate and develop state-of-the-art measurement systems for the extreme solar environment.
- The HFSF facility can determine secondary concentrator requirements and configuration by using SolTrace modeling. If modeling shows a requirement for a special secondary concentrator, NREL can be instrumental in designing and integrating this concentrator into the HFSF test area. For more information on SolTrace modeling, contact Tim Wendelin.
- The HFSF facility also includes an ultra-accelerated weathering system (UAWS) for testing of outdoor materials. UAWS provides up to 100× ultraviolet concentration to accelerate aging of materials used outdoors. For more information on UAWS, contact Robert Tirawat.
For more information, please visit the HFSF website
- Director’s Discretionary Allocation: for high impact science and engineering problems that exceed a company’s internal computing capabilities;
- ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC): for larger high-risk, high-payoff simulations that are directly related to the DOE mission (such as advancing energy efficiency);
- INCITE: Computationally intensive, large-scale research projects pursuing transformational advances in science and engineering through the use of a substantial allocation of computer time and data storage or that require the unique leadership-class architectural infrastructure.