Researchers team up to get a clearer picture of molten salts

Asia's Tech News Daily

Researchers team up to get a clearer picture of molten salts

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge, Brookhaven and Idaho national laboratories and Stony Brook University have developed a novel approach to gain fundamental insights into molten salts, a heat transfer medium important to advanced energy technologies.

Molten salts, or salt melts, remain liquid across a range of temperatures and offer stable thermal and conductive properties for some of the hottest applications. They can fuel and cool nuclear reactors, power high-temperature batteries and store energy for concentrated solar power plants. An experiment decades ago demonstrated their potential to produce safe, efficient and affordable nuclear energy.

“There has been renewed interest in using molten salts to address current energy challenges, but we need a better fundamental understanding of salts and their interactions with structural materials to develop technologies around them,” said ORNL’s Vyacheslav Bryantsev. “By combining theory and experiment, we can create useful models that connect with the many physical properties engineers need to consider when they design molten salt systems.”

The team collaborated as part of a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center that investigates Molten Salts in Extreme Environments.

Results published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society provide elusive information about the structure and dynamics of molten salts and their interactions with the alloys used to contain them.

Corrosion is a known challenge for molten salts, but the process is not well understood because it is difficult to predict and probe experimentally. One reason is that molten salts are dynamic and changing, not only melting from a solid state to become liquid but also evolving with temperature and composition changes. Added to that complexity are corrosion products, such as nickel, chromium and other transition metals, that interact with salt mixtures in ways that are difficult to detect and interpret.

The study set out to observe traces of nickel in chloride-based molten salts, ZnCl2-KCl. Collaborators at Brookhaven used the Inner Shell Spectroscopy beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source II to perform extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy, or EXAFS, a powerful technique that can single out specific elements to learn about their atomic structures. X-rays are sent through a sample and are absorbed by atoms. The irradiated atoms eject electrons that are scattered by the surrounding atoms or ions.

Researchers can measure the scattering patterns to create a picture of the coordination structures present, that is, the way atoms and molecules are arranged around a central metal ion. In this case, the goal was to understand how nickel ions bond with chloride in coordinated networks that may be present in different forms.

A conventional approach that fits EXAFS theory to experimental data can create an average picture of the structures present but fails to capture the complexity of the molten salt environment. Nickel interacts with chloride to form multiple structures, each with different coordination numbers, that coexist and evolve independently. A new approach is needed to account for diversity.

“We found that a conventional fitting method was inadequate to describe the coordination structure of nickel, which in turn made it difficult to interpret experimental data. You need an approach that can account for the highly disordered state of molten salts where elements appear in many different configurations simultaneously,” said Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists Simerjeet Gill and Anatoly Frenkel, who led the EXAFS data collection and analysis.

Researchers developed a method to identify multiple coordination states adopted by nickel – different configurations of nickel ions – and to quantify those populations, a feat that has not previously been possible. The new model was validated using optical absorption spectroscopy performed by team members at Idaho National Laboratory.

“Our first step was to understand how molten salt structural networks look at the atomic level and how nickel becomes a part of that network via chloride sharing. Typically, nickel and other cations (namely zinc) in the melt were found to share one or two chlorides between them in close-contact configurations,” said ORNL’s Santanu Roy.

Once researchers determined which coordination structures were present, the next step was to understand why and how they form and evolve over time in the molten salt environment.

“We know the structures that form in molten salts are dynamic and sensitive to changes in temperature and composition, but we wanted to quantify that relationship,” said Roy. “The nickel-chloride networks continue to evolve through a process of chloride exchange. Chloride ions move and trade places with other chloride ions, and when that happens, the whole network might adopt a new structure.”

The team showed, as expected, that ions gain more kinetic energy as the salt melt temperature increases, leading to faster chloride exchange dynamics around nickel ions. A surprising result was that changes to the composition of the salt melt by adjusting the ratio of elements also had a significant impact on the chloride exchange dynamics, which became faster when more structural disorder was introduced. A key finding linked chloride exchange dynamics as function of melt composition to coordination structures adopted by nickel ions.

The study revealed several critical aspects of the way ions interact in molten salts and described the rules governing how different coordination structures form.

“These efforts combining theory and experiment make a significant leap in connecting fundamental insights to properties, such as ion solubility and transport, that could be optimized for specific applications,” said Bryantsev.

Research Report: “A Holistic Approach for Elucidating Local Structure, Dynamics, and Speciation in Molten Salts with High Structural Disorder”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Plato exoplanet mission gets green light for next phase

Plato, ESA’s next-generation planet hunting mission, has been given the green light to continue with its development after the critical milestone review concluded successfully on 11 January 2022. The review ... Read more »

Earth's interior is cooling faster than expected

The evolution of our Earth is the story of its cooling: 4.5 billion years ago, extreme temperatures prevailed on the surface of the young Earth, and it was covered by ... Read more »

New DAF software factory aims to digitally transform AFRL

The chief software officer for the Air Force recently designated Hangar 18 as a Department of the Air Force software factory. Hangar 18 joins 16 other DAF software factories-including the ... Read more »

Arase uncovers Geospace coupling between plasma waves and charged particles

In a new study published in Physical Review Letters, researchers from Japan show that high-frequency plasma waves in the Geospace can generate low-frequency plasma waves through wave-particle interactions by heating ... Read more »

Chile court freezes multi-million dollar lithium deal

A Chilean appeals court on Friday suspended a million-dollar state lithium tender issued two days earlier that had generated controversy for coming just two months before the end of conservative ... Read more »

Understanding the "cold spot" in the cosmic microwave background

After the Big Bang, the universe, glowing brightly, was opaque and so hot that atoms could not form. Eventually cooling down to about minus 454 degrees Fahrenheit (-270 degrees Celsius), ... Read more »

Evidence for a second supermoon beyond our solar system

Astronomers have reported a second, super-sized moon orbiting a Jupiter-sized planet beyond our solar system. If confirmed, the sighting could mean that exomoons are as common in the universe as ... Read more »

Virgin Orbit mission success brings UK satellite launch one step closer

Satellite launch from Spaceport Cornwall is a step closer following Virgin Orbit’s successful ‘Above the Clouds’ mission in the US. The UK Space Agency welcomes the news that Virgin Orbit ... Read more »

OMEGA joins ClearSpace to clean up space

ClearSpace SA is working to rid space of dangerous debris comprising left-over rockets and defunct satellites. Now, Swiss watchmaker OMEGA, manufacturer of the first watch worn on the Moon, is ... Read more »

Iran tests solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards tested last week a solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket, state media has reported quoting the force’s aerospace commander as saying. Reports carried footage released by the elite force ... Read more »

SpaceX launches 44 SuperDove satellites for Planet Labs

Planet Labs reports the successful launch of its 4x Flock, consisting of 44 SuperDove satellites, into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The company has established contact with all ... Read more »

Ironing out the interiors of exoplanets

The discovery of more than 4,500 extra-solar planets has created a need for modelling their interior structure and dynamics. As it turns out, iron plays a key role. Lawrence Livermore ... Read more »

New insights into seasons on a planet outside our solar system

Imagine being in a place where the winds are so strong that they move at the speed of sound. That’s just one aspect of the atmosphere on XO-3b, one of ... Read more »

Citizen Scientists Spot Jupiter-like Planet in NASA TESS Data

Tom Jacobs of Bellevue, Washington, loves treasure hunts. Since 2010, the former U.S. naval officer has participated in online volunteer projects that allow anyone who is interested – “citizen scientists” ... Read more »

Team of astronomers finds widest separation of brown dwarf pair to date

A team of astronomers, led by Arizona State University undergraduate student Emma Softich, has discovered a rare pair of brown dwarfs that has the widest separation of any brown dwarf ... Read more »

Pandora mission to study stars and exoplanets continues toward flight

The Pandora mission, co-led by a national laboratory and a NASA flight center, has passed a crucial step on its path to study stars and planets outside our solar system, ... Read more »

Unusual team finds gigantic planet hidden in plain sight

Riverside CA (SPX) Jan 14, 2022 A UC Riverside astronomer and a group of eagle-eyed citizen scientists have discovered a giant gas planet hidden from view by typical stargazing tools. ... Read more »

Photon pairs are more sensitive to rotations than single photons

In the field of quantum metrology, scientists are developing novel measurement schemes that benefit from quantum features and are more precise and sensitive than classical conventional methods. The team of ... Read more »

Newly-Found Planets On The Edge Of Destruction

Three newly-discovered planets have been orbiting dangerously close to stars nearing the end of their lives. Out of the thousands of extrasolar planets found so far, these three gas giant ... Read more »

Kleos' Patrol Mission satellites to launch in April

Kleos Space S.A, a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a- service (DaaS) company, announces the Kleos Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites, planned to launch in January 2022, have been remanifested to launch ... Read more »

Virgin Orbit launches a rocket carrying 7 satellites

Virgin Orbit kicked off an ambitious launch schedule for 2022 on Thursday by sending seven small satellites into space aboard a rocket launched from a jet high above the Pacific ... Read more »

Black hole at center of Milky Way unpredictable and chaotic

An international team of researchers, led by postgraduate student Alexis Andres, has found that the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, not only flares irregularly from ... Read more »

SES Government Solutions Launches On-Demand X-band Service Platform

SES Government Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES, announced the launch of tactiXs, a mission-specific managed service platform in partnership with Network Innovations and GovSat, a public-private joint venture between ... Read more »

Pixxel Partners with Rio Tinto to investigate benefits of hyperspectral satellite technology

Earth imaging company Pixxel has announced an early adoption partnership with Rio Tinto. Pixxel’s imaging satellites, capable of 5 meter hyperspectral imaging, will help Rio Tinto assess the benefits the ... Read more »

Are astronomers seeing a signal from giant black holes?

An international team of astronomers has discovered what could be the early sign of a background signal arising from supermassive black holes, observed through low-frequency gravitational waves. These scientists are ... Read more »

New theory finds upcoming satellite mission will be able to detect more than expected

The upcoming satellite experiment LiteBIRD is expected to probe the physics of the very early Universe if the primordial inflation happened at high energies. But now, a new paper in ... Read more »

How the Webb telescope could ultimately help protect Earth

The James Webb Space Telescope, the most complex and expensive space laboratory ever created, is less than two weeks away from its ultimate destination a million miles from Earth. Once ... Read more »

Watch live: Virgin Orbit plans to launch a rocket carrying 7 satellites

Virgin Orbit kicked off an ambitious launch schedule for 2022 on Thursday by sending seven small satellites into space aboard a rocket launched from a jet high above the Pacific ... Read more »

Oxygen ions in Jupiter's innermost radiation belts

Planets like Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn with global magnetic fields of their own are surrounded by so-called radiation belts: Trapped in the magnetic field, fast moving charged particles such as ... Read more »

It all comes down to the first electron

Every living thing requires energy. This is also true of microorganisms. This energy is frequently generated in the cells by respiration, that is by the combustion of organic compounds, in ... Read more »

Cosmic explosions offer new clue to how stars become Black Holes

Scientists have witnessed for the first time exactly what happens to the most massive stars at the end of their lives. Most very large stars explode in a fiery supernova ... Read more »

A cosmic romance written in the stars

An international team of astronomers has taken a step forward in understanding the evolution of galaxies, and in so doing, told a story written in the heavens. It has long ... Read more »

Copper-based chemicals may be contributing to ozone depletion

Copper released into the environment from fungicides, brake pads, antifouling paints on boats and other sources may be contributing significantly to stratospheric ozone depletion, according to a new study from ... Read more »

ALMA Catches "Intruder" Redhanded in Rarely Detected Stellar Flyby Event

Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) made a rare detection of a likely stellar flyby event in the Z ... Read more »

New spheres of knowledge on the origin of life

The shape of a cell affects its physical and chemical properties. Different cell types have developed different shapes to enable effective functioning. But what shape were the very first cells, ... Read more »

Too much heavy metal stops stars producing

Stars are giant factories that produce most of the elements in the Universe – including the elements in us, and in the Earth’s metal deposits. But what stars produce changes ... Read more »

Deciphering conditions around the Sun five million years ago

Using high-resolution data obtained from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, Wesleyan University Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield can show the conditions the Sun encountered traveling ... Read more »

Researchers Observe Massive CME on Distant, Sun-Like Star

EK Draconis illuminates an unimagined picture of how superflares may affect interplanetary space through coronal mass ejections Welcome to the New Year! While Earth celebrated 2022’s arrival with displays of ... Read more »

North Pole solar eclipse excited auroras on the other side of the world

A solar eclipse over the Arctic created changes in auroras in both of Earth’s hemispheres due to connections through the planet’s magnetic field, according to a new study. The new ... Read more »

Increased space missions risk extraterrestrial contamination

The days of the U.S.-Soviet Space Race are over, and the domain of space exploration is expanding daily to include more countries than ever before. With the advent of private ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic