In Poland, the center of materials of the future is being created – what is it?

Poland has a chance to become a leader in developing the materials of the future. Soon, the Center of Excellence NOMATEN is to be established in Świerk, which will be developing new materials for the needs of chemistry, radiopharmaceuticals and the nuclear industry.

In the Polish center of materials of the future materials resistant to extreme working conditions will be tested using, among others, computer simulations. At the same time, thanks to such developed materials, HTR reactor technology could become a Polish specialty. In addition, nuclear power would reduce gas imports and provide energy and heat.

– The aim of the project is to develop a center that would deal with research in the field of new materials working in extreme conditions – high temperatures, radiation and corrosion – for both nuclear energy and modern chemistry and energy industries. Finally, we can develop materials for new generations of nuclear reactors that will produce either energy or heat in Poland – says in an interview with the agency Newseria Innowacje prof. dr hab. Jacek Jagielski, director of the Department of Physics of Materials at the National Center for Nuclear Research.

Materials resistant to extreme working conditions, durable, resistant to corrosion, high temperatures and radiation are necessary, among others in the construction of new generation nuclear reactors and thermonuclear reactors, also in the space industry. As the expert emphasizes, the newly created center will allow not only to come up with the optimal material and find the right application for it.

– We want to start with computer simulations that will allow us to predict how a given material will react to an extreme environment, such as the reactor core or the interior of a chemical installation. On this basis, we will try to create a computer model of material that will allow us to predict how its structure will change. When we gain confidence that the structure is already properly described, we will start using its constitutive models and finite element methods to simulate its mechanical properties – explains prof. Jacek Jagielski.

In addition to computer simulations, scientists will use a variety of analytical methods that will allow you to study the structure of the material and functional properties, such as strength or resistance. In addition, the materials will have properties that can be predicted during the lifetime of nuclear installations even for a period of 60-100 years. The first material that scientists will work on is already selected.

– New nickel-based alloys have a chance of high-temperature applications. On the one hand, they are resistant to high temperatures, on the other hand to radiation defects, so they can be used, for example, in heat exchangers or in turbines fed with HTR reactors – says NCBJ expert.

Demand for such materials is huge, including in the chemical industry, where the heat carrier is water vapor with a temperature of 450-550 Celsius. Therefore, the NOMATEN project is directly related to the Polish Nuclear Power Program and the program for the construction of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, the so-called HTR.

– At the moment, it is the only nuclear technology that allows the production of technological steam at 550 deg C, which is the basis of the chemical industry. The goal is to become independent of gas supplies – if we replace gas-fired or coal-fired nuclear reactors, we could reduce gas imports by 25 percent, while HTR reactor technology could become a Polish specialty in the EU – convinces prof. Jagielski.

Nuclear power, according to the expert, is indispensable to Poland. European Union regulations require reduction of carbon dioxide emission to 550 g / kWh. Such emission is impossible to achieve in carbon blocks even with their high efficiency.

– Or we will immediately begin to supplement energy production from coal using zero-emission technologies, to go down to an average value below 550 g, or we will pay high penalties for carbon dioxide emissions, close all coal-fired power plants and install gas-fired blocs imported from Russia. If we want to have electricity in the socket, we have to choose one of these roads, and in my opinion the most rational is nuclear energy – summarizes prof. dr hab. Jacek Jagielski.


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