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Liquid Metal Technology




Liquid metals are a group of coolants with increasing importance for high-temperature processes and power engineering. The favourable thermo-physical properties of liquid metals allow for high rates of heat removal in comparison to other coolants, e.g., water/steam. The compatibility of metallic construction materials with liquid metals may be strongly influenced by dissolved non-metals, especially oxygen.


The Liquid Metal Technology Group at IAM-WPT investigates the compatibility of steels with liquid metals, concentrating on

  • The mechanisms and kinetics of steel corrosion in flowing oxygen-containing lead-bismuth eutectic (Pb45Bi)
  • Development of corrosion models
  • Creep-to-rupture in static oxygen-containing liquid lead
  • Methods und instruments for controlling the content of dissolved oxygen in liquid lead alloys


Liquid-metal loop CORRIDA
(Corrosion in Dynamic Lead Alloys)

CORRIDA is a forced-convection loop for exposing material specimens (steels) to flowing Pb45Bi at temperatures between 350 °C and 550 °C. Depending on the specimen dimensions, a flow velocity parallel to the specimen surface of 2 m/s can be achieved. The oxygen content of the lead alloy is controlled via mass-transfer between an oxygen-containing gas and the liquid metal (gas/liquid transfer). CORRIDA has been designed for long-term operation – currently, the longest exposure time of particular specimens is 20,000 h. The test-sections have a capacity for simultaneous exposure of 36 cylindrical specimens at a specimen length of 30 mm.

Creep-testing rig CRISLA
(Creep-to-Rupture in Stagnant Lead Alloys)

The creep-testing rig CRISLA consists of eight loading frames with integrated experimental capsules enclosing the investigated material in the testing environment. Five of these capsules are designed for creep-to-rupture experiments in static liquid lead or lead alloys, e.g., Pb45Bi, at up to 650 °C. The oxygen content of the liquid metal is controlled via oxygen-providing or absorbing gas mixtures. For this purpose, a modular measuring and control system was developed. Three capsules are used for reference experiments in static air.

Oxygen sensors for use in liquid metals

The sensors developed for measuring the oxygen concentration in liquid lead alloys work according to the principle of the lambda-probe, i.e., the difference in the oxygen chemical potential between the liquid metal and a reference electrode is transformed into an electric voltage. The solid electrolyte that separates the reference electrode from the liquid metal is yttria-stabilised zirconia. All the testing facilities operated by the group are equipped with such oxygen sensors.


If you have any questions please contact Dr. Carsten Schroer.