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We have experience with complex thermal technologies

Plasma arc  (transferred arc)

Solar thermal reactor

 

Local introduction of centralized high temperature energy beams like electron beams or thermal plasma provide a wide range of applications in the fields of metallurgy, recycling and treatment of toxic waste. In the case of thermal plasma an electric arc is stabilized in a gas stream which leads locally to extremely high temperatures comparable with a thunderbolt and the gas goes into a plasma stage. Melting or pyrolysis can be performed in inert atmosphere which allows the production of clean metals and alloys (e.g. titanium) or thermal decomposition of toxic materials, reduction of oxides (e.g. filterdusts), recycling of catalysts and compound materials or for vitrification into leaching resistant slag. The last procedure is well suited for thermal destruction and vitrification of low/medium active nuclear waste or the treatment of residuals from chemical weapons.

 

 

Localized high temperatures can be obtained also with solar thermal energy.  Solar beams coming from mirrors are concentrated in a thermal reactor on top of a solar tower. The energy can be used for generation of steam or for chemical reactions similar to a plasma heated reactor. An experimental solar receiver where a thermal reactor was positioned in the focus of a large mirror was located at the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute. It was used to study the possibility for reduction zinc from filter-dusts of electric arc furnaces. The study was reported as doctoral thesis performed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.

 

Titanium aluminide (microstructure)

 

Many plants for generation of electric energy operate under conditions which are a real challenge for materials. This is true for steam turbines, gas turbines, gas motors, heat exchangers, nuclear reactors and others. The exposure conditions in such plants can be high temperatures, high temperature corrosion, liquid corrosion, irradiation damage (fission and fusion). The long-term behavior of materials under such conditions ais particularly important for damage assessments. Besides traditional materials like steels or superalloys also oxide-dispersion strengthened materials, intermetallic alloys or ceramics under consideration. Protective layers like thermal barriers or layers against corrosion are also of importance. A basic understanding of the material’s behaviour is therefore necessary for design of different plants.