Zirconium-carbid ceramic material can be used to protect heat in aircraft and propulsion systems.
Conductive Heating of Ceramic Metal Plate
American scientists developed recently a new material and manufacturing method that makes use of solar energy. This allows for the generation of electricity with greater efficiency. While solar energy can also be used to generate power and store power on cloudy nights and days, it is still a low-cost option for electricity generation. But, only 2% of US electricity comes from solar. Purdue University has discovered a way to increase the efficiency and practicality of solar energy.
This technological innovation serves as a link between the direct competition for solar power generation, and fuel power generator. Fuel power generation currently accounts for over 60% of total US power generation. Purdue University Professor Kenneth Sandhage said that storage of solar energy in thermal form is less expensive than the storage of energy in batteries. Next, we need to decrease the costs of solar energy generation as well as reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Electricity generation by turbine generator
It is possible to not only use solar energy for thermal power generation from solar panels mounted on rooftops and farms, but also use it to create concentrated energy using solar thermal energy. Concentrated solar power plant use lenses and mirrors to capture large amounts of light. This converts solar energy to electricity. Molten salt is also produced. Once the heat is extracted from the salt, it’s transferred to supercritical CO2 which expands to make the turbine spin.
The turbine engine generates more electricity using the same heat to reduce costs of solar power generation. It therefore runs at a higher operating temperature to achieve this. Heat exchangers are the technical blocker in this process. They transfer heat from hot molten salts to “working fluid” and then heat it again. The heat exchanger at present is made from stainless steel and nickel alloy material. These materials can become soft under extreme high temperatures or high pressures of supercritical CO2 at high levels.
Zirconium Carbide Ceramics – Design Source
Kenneth Sandhage is believed to have been inspired by the previous “synthetic materials” created by his collaborators. This material is used for solid fuel rocket nozzles. They can withstand extreme pressure and temperatures. Kenneth Sandhage, Asegun H. Henry of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is currently designing a comparable synthetic material for a heat exchanger.
These two materials are combined to create complex materials that can have unexpected results. Purdue University’s ceramic-metal Composite Plates can be modified to allow heat conversion.
Zirconium Carbide and Composite Materials Development
Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Edgar Lara–Curzio research unit conducted mechanical and corrosion testing of the composite. The University of Wisconsin Madison-Madison’s Mark Anderson research unit conducted corrosion tests. The composite material was able to adapt to supercritical CO2 under extreme pressure and temperature conditions. This makes it more efficient than heat exchangers.
Research by the Georgia Institute of Technology (and Purdue University) has shown that heat exchanging units made of new materials, when compared to stainless steel and nickel alloys can be mass produced at the same cost or even lower.
Kenneth Sandhage claimed that technological advancements will allow the technology to be extended from large-scale, renewable solar energy to power grid fields. This will mean that carbon dioxide emissions from humans will be significantly reduced in electricity production.
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