Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Metallurgy Europe -preparing for Energy's Future

Experimenters are having difficulties in replicating Parkhomov's replication of Andrea Rossi’s LENR reactor. Some succeed in generating excess heat, but at the expense and embarrasment of exploding reactors. Construction and metallurgy of reactor tubes and heating coils seems to be part of the problem. Advances in optimizing results may require entirely new alloys. To that end, initiatives of Matallurgy Europe may well provide the solution. See organization's May 27th, 2015 call for specific proposals to advance Europe’s leadership in metallurgical manufacturing.

Metallurgy Europe – EUREKA Clusters

Metallurgy Europe is a seven-year EUREKA Cluster Programme with the ambition of developing and industrialising the next-generation of metallic materials... The following calls have been approved for official release on 27th May 2015. Large-scale, high-impact, market-driven cluster projects are being solicited in a broad range of metallurgical and manufacturing fields...
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Here are excerpts from four of the 14 proposal calls:

-Call-02 Multi-Component Alloys for Extreme Industrial Applications
Many industrial applications are subjected to extreme operating conditions... due to very high temperatures, high pressures, highly oxidising environments, corrosive and acidic attack, sour gases and steam, severe wear and abrasion, neutron irradiation...
A range of alloys have been successfully developed over the past 50 years, such as nickel-based superalloys, ODS steels, PGM alloys, cobalt-chromium and tungsten alloys. However, these materials are being constantly challenged by designers and engineers, in pursuit of higher performance, reliability and product longevity. One way to improve these materials is to explore the vast opportunities of multi-component alloying, where 5-10 elements are mixed and solidified...
There should also be a strong emphasis on gathering property data such as creep, fatigue, fracture toughness, wear resistance, hardness, oxidation resistance etc... Scaling up the selected alloys from 0.1 kg to >100 kg production is anticipated in order to permit manufacturing and testing of industrial components for e.g. turbomachinery, pumps, nuclear reactors, hard tooling, dies and heat exchangers...

-Call-03 Structural Steels for Non-Ambient Conditions
Advanced steel grades are used throughout the industrialised world for structural applications. While there are many alloy choices for steels at ambient room-temperature (as in the automotive and construction industry), there is a strong industrial need to develop better steels for structural applications involving non-ambient conditions. These needs include both very cold applications such as in cryogenic tanks, as well as in very high temperature applications like in power-generation plants and turbomachinery.
New grades shall be proposed that can be manufactured at the laboratory scale... Mechanical properties such as static tensile, fatigue and fracture toughness should be assessed, as well as creep and oxidation resistance for the high-temperature applications at 600-700°C. Optimal alloy conditions should be defined, also as a function of heat treatment and weldability...
...improved high-temperature steels would make power plants more efficient by several %, resulting in even larger decreases in fuel cost and CO2 emissions

-Call-08 Additive Manufacturing of Large Metallic Structures
To date, additive manufacturing (AM) of metallic materials has been largely focused on small-sized components... However, there is also a strong industrial demand for producing large, single-piece, alloy components in the 1-5 metre range. The industry sectors typically requiring large metallic structures include aeronautics, space, defence, maritime, road transport, construction, as well as turbomachinery and power generation systems.
The project... shall focus on AM techniques, such as wire-fed plasma-arc, blown-powder and hybrid routes, that are capable of manufacturing and machining good-quality large parts...
Alloy chemistries better suited to AM processing, as well as multi-material parts, should also be explored... Furthermore, a strong connection with the X-ray/neutron project (Met-Euro-Call-01-2015-12)...

-Call-09 Combinatorial Alloy Development and Infrastructure
European industry needs to accelerate the discovery of new materials and get them to the market quicker... The project...shall develop and establish a number of integrated combinatorial facilities across Europe, in order to rapidly produce and test large arrays of bulk and thin-film alloy samples. The targeted applications for alloys shall be largely determined by industrial requirements... The alloy classes to be synthesised shall typically include: solid solutions, high-entropy alloys, intermetallics, semiconductors, bulk metallic glasses, composites and other multi-component systems.
...This topic is highly strategic and will serve a large proportion of Europe’s technical sectors, including production, transportation, energy, renewables and healthcare.
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The Eureka clusters involve over 40 European countries, but also includes Israel, South Korea, and Canada.


While call-12 does not connect directly to future energy production, scynrotrons could improve current quality of LENR reactor cores -and ash analysis:

-call-12 X-ray & Neutron Characterisation Serving Metallic & Industrial Applications
... a special call is being announced for the development of a large-scale ‘service-providing’ project dealing with advanced characterisation using synchrotron X-rays and neutrons. Year on year, these tools are becoming more sophisticated and powerful, penetrating deep into the heart of materials. The various beam-lines in Europe are able to provide valuable insight into a material’s crystal structure, multi-phase structure, nano-structure, precipitate distribution, residual stress, as well as a host of other physical properties like magnetism. Many of these properties can now be measured as a function of temperature, pressure, gas atmosphere and time (hence, in-situ studies).
... by delivering relevant experimental data from the various X-ray and neutron beam-lines...
The characterisation techniques of most industrial relevance to Metallurgy Europe include: (i) in-situ neutron residual stress analysis for AM, welding and deformation, (ii) diffraction and in-situ imaging of melt-pool dynamics, solidification and grain texture, (iii) in-situ diffraction and imaging of solid-state transformations and nano-precipitate evolution during heat treatment and thermal cycling, (iv) fast high-throughput characterisation and phase analysis of bulk and thin-film alloy samples, and (v) in-situ micro-tomography during mechanical testing (tensile, compression, creep, fatigue) and hipping, also at high temperature and under controlled atmospheres.
... Beam-time and support will be provided, in exchange for industrial fees charged to those projects being directly served.

Up Date

Take a squint at what's coming round the bend in Sweden:

After a slow start, a technique that promises deep sample penetration and improved spatial resolution is catching on fast.

Sweden’s new national synchrotron light source, the MAX IV in Lund, is blazing the trail to produce the brightest x rays yet from a storage
ring. The record brightness, achieved by shrinking the emittance—the product of beam size and angular divergence—of the source electrons,is thanks largely to multibend achromats (MBAs).

Today’s synchrotrons use groups of magnets, typically two or three dipole bending magnets plus focusing and correction magnets, to send electrons around a circular storage ring. The trick with MBAs is to use more bending magnets per group, or achromat. More focusing magnets can then be interspersed between bending magnets, which makes it easier to return wayward electrons to the fold. The resulting x-ray beam is smaller, brighter, and more coherent...

Read the rest of Physcistoday article:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

CO2 & Radiation vs LENR at G-7 Summit

Germany hosts the G-7 summit in two weeks against a backdrop of economic, energy, exclusion and security issues. The current members are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US. Russia is currently excluded due to on-going economic sanctions. Also excluded are China and India -although they have the fastest growing GDP -and trading volumes that probably exceed that of the combined G-7 nations. See stale Globe and Mail article headlined: "China, India on track to top G-7 combined economies"

Energy, environmental and safety issues are closely linked to CO2, coal, gas/oil, nuclear and the rush to bring LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactors) to market. In ramping up for the meeting, both environmentalist and business interests will be making their submissions, as will big media editors. Just don't expect any of preceeding to make the LENR connection.
Germany and Japan have concerns with coal and nuclear energy generation. While politicians fiddle at the Elmau Resort in Bavaria on June 7th and 8th, people in China and India choke, Japanese live with Fukushima meltdown, glaciers melt and oceans rise.

An article in Deutsche Welle paints the picture as seen by the G7's big businesses. These excerpts set the stage for major squabbles.

BDI President Grillo made it clear that the debate about safe, affordable and clean energy should be on the global agenda, adding that it cannot be purely a national or a European debate. All parties involved must make "comparable, ambitious and verifiable contributions." If nations simply follow their own agenda, he warned, they will only be burdening business and industry.

Clearly, the business federations want to have a say on any agreement made at the UN climate summit later this year in Paris. A climate deal is an important task for the state, Grillo said, but added that industry leaders are convinced that economic expertise will be necessary to actually reach the goals. After all, he explained, more often than not, it is the companies that must implement energy and climate policy measures.

The business federations also left no room for doubt that they will not stand for anyone ruining the energy business of coal, gas and oil.

Which leader then, will dare champion LENR as the future energy source? For political leadership, look to the lady who would eliminate coal and nuclear in her nation's energy mix. She is likely to push her European cohorts to make some tough decisions in the face of deteriorating global environment and health conditions -and much wavering by North Americans.

Update # 1
An early emailer has just left this link:

Update # 2

On the eve of G-7 summit, Japan's Tepco is about to sell part of its uranium stockpile, which signals it has to cut costs because of Fukushima disruption and doubts about authorization to restart its other reactors. See item in Japan Times:
See also extensive reportage by Dave Forest of Oil Price com:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

EU Shakes-up Its Science Budgeting

The BBC science piece of March 25, 2015 informs us on strategic moves by the EU Commission to overhaul the funding and management of science. The Commission wants early approval by the European Parliament so that deployment can start this summer.

Quotes by Sir Paul Nurse outline the concerns of the Nobel Lauerates in UK's Royal Society:
"EU Commissioner Moedas is committed to doing what is in the best interests of science across the EU.
I hope that he can bring that perspective to bear on the discussions
about a way forward on funding the EFSI that does not sell out the
science base.
There appears to be a growing groundswell of support for protecting
science from any raids on funding and the European Parliament is at
the forefront of that.
The Commission needs to show that it listens and that it recognises
the central role of research and innovation to long term sustainable
economic growth."

Mendes said, "We already have a lot of scientific advice in-house. We have high-level groups of experts, such as the Joint Research Centre. Now, we have to get independent scientific advice.

And last fall, Comissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said, "Europe's competitors have not stood still. The likes of the US, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore all have more intense spending than the EU bloc. China, too, is emerging rapidly. "If you look at the kind of massive investment they're making in research and innovation - I think that's a wake-up call for Europe."


Yes, old-line scientists are having a hard time swallowing a 2.7 billion euro shift of research funds to a new new 21 bn European Fund for Strategic Investment.
The new fund targets stimulation of innovation rather than support of pure science. Allocating EFSI funds involves not only sharing the proceeds but the politically sensitive job of picking winners.
Apparenty, Europe does not want Asia, America and Russia to get a lead in engineering and marketing of breakthrough technologies.

The installation of an independent panel to replace an appointed EU chief scientist tends to panic the folks at CERN and ITER. It is worthwhile to review three excerpts from the March 15, 2015 post, Is Proof of Dark matter Worth the risk?"
The design of progressively larger and larger nuclear and particle exploration has to end.
Just because engineering, mental and financial resources are available doesn't mean that "science for sience's sake" has to be pushed beyond sensible limits.
In internationally funded nuclear and particle research, scaling back should be the operating words.