Rapid Design, Development and Deployment of Materials for Extreme Environments

R. Conrad, D. Mollot
U.S. Department of Energy,
United States

Keywords: high temperature, severe environment, materials, metal alloys


The availability of low cost, durable metal alloys is a foundational requirement for achieving many of the Nation’s targets for affordable, efficient power production. This need for high-performance alloys is particularly manifest as an enabler for advanced fossil energy power cycles, where extreme temperatures and/or pressures are required to maximize cycle efficiencies. As a result, a primary barrier to the deployment of transformational fossil energy power systems is the limited availability of qualified/certificed alloys and the high cost associated with the existing suite of commercial alloys that can meet the minimum materials performance targets. DOE-FE’s program is focused on the rapid development and deployment of affordable, reliable materials that can meet the extreme demands of fossil energy power systems, utilizing an integrated materials engineering approach that incorporates computational alloy design, with best practice manufacturing (modified as needed to achieve microstructure objectives), combined with focused testing and characterization to validate the alloy’s long-term stability in relevant operating environments. This approach provides an efficient pathway to obtain the desired alloy microstructure, with concomitant gains in alloy performance. Utilizing multi-scale integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) approaches also provides the key structure- microstructure-processing relationships needed to guide future alloy development research. Finally, incorporating component manufacturing considerations early into this research offers the best opportunity to develop “qualified ready” or “near qualified ready” materials, bypassing years of development research and accelerating the insertion of new and improved alloys in the field. This talk will describe the ultimate goal of the DOE materials program, the current state of the art, and some examples of early research successes and future near term opportunities from the National Labs, universities, and industry.