ECN publication
Assesment of advanced materials development in the European Fusion Long-term Technology Programme: report to the FTSC-P by the Advanced Materials Working Group
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ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-C--98-048 ECN publication
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In view of the transition to the next, fifth, framework program, and theresources available, the European Commission (EC) requested to launch an assessment for the Advanced Materials area, as part of the European Fusion Technology Programme. A working group chaired by the Materials Field Coordinator assessed the current status of the programme with the view to prepare its future focusing on one class of materials, as expressed by the FTSC-P. Two classes of materials: SiC/SiC ceramic composites and low activation alloys on the basis of V, Ti and Cr are presently in the Advanced Materials area. They are all in very early stages of development with a view to their application in fusion power reactors. All have adverse properties that could exclude their use. SiC/SiC ceramic composites have by far the highest potential operating temperature, contributing greatly to the efficiency of fusion power reactors. At the same time it is also the development with the highest development loss risk. This class of materials needs an integrated approach of design, manufacturing and materials development different from alloy development. The alloys with vanadium and titanium as base element have limited application windows due to their inherent properties. If the development of RAFM steels continues as foreseen, the development of V and Ti alloys is not justifiable in the frame of the advanced materials programme. The oxide dispersion strengthened variant of RAFM steels might reach similar temperature limits: about 900K. Chromium based alloys hold the promise of higher operating temperatures, but the knowledge and experience in fusion applications is limited. Investigating the potential of chromium alloys is considered worthwhile. The alloys have comparable activation hazards and early recycling potential, with properly controlled compositions. Recycling of the SiC/SiC class of materials needs further investigation. The working group concludes that at this stage no contender can be rejected. The working group recommends, considering the funding limitations: In the future programme SiC/SiC development should be the main target; The alloy class development should be continued on a modest scale, due to the limited gain. Uncertainties of potential and limitations of Cr-alloys for fusion application are so large, that a coordinated effort to improve the Cr-alloy knowledge base is essential; Closer cooperation with both industries and universities is pursued to strengthen the innovation climate; Cooperation in world-wide context is another prerequisite to optimally exploit the available funds and to gain from developments elsewhere. 23 refs.

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