The High Temperature Corrosion Laboratory was established to provide a facility to conduct experimental research on corrosion, stress corrosion cracking (SCC), and hydrogen embrittlement experiments in high temperature aqueous and gas environments and, in particular, simulated light water reactor environments. The corrosion laboratory has unique facilities for conducting both high and low temperature corrosion, stress corrosion cracking experiments, electrochemical tests and mechanical tests. The HTCL consists of six refreshed autoclave systems (titanium, Inconel, or stainless steel construction), five mounted in constant extension rate (CERT) machines and one in a constant load machine.
Experiments can be done in a wide range of environments, including supercritical water, simulated BWR and PWR water, high temperature steam, and gas environments. Each autoclave is isolated from the other systems with independent water and computer monitoring systems. The lab also contains two full-featured corrosion measurement systems and two additional potentiostats.
Monitoring & Safety
The testing systems in the High Temperature Corrosion Laboratory use programs developed with the National Instruments LabVIEW software package to measure the conditions during a test and to control some parameters (such as strain rate). The program is used in tandem with data acquisition boards to read measurements sent by instruments in the system such as thermocouples, conductivity meters, LVDT’s, Load cells, and pressure gauges. Temperature, pressure, conductivity are recorded continuously for future reference. The load on each sample as well as total extension are also recorded.
An important safety feature of the system is that LabVIEW can send email and/or text messages when experiment variables stray out of normal/safe range. Using this capability, the user can set system upper and lower limits for different parameters, usually for temperature and pressure. If a reading exceeds these bounds a text message is sent to a digital pager or cell phone, alerting the researcher of a problem and the nature of the problem within seconds. Since most tests can last up to a month and beyond and have conditions that would be dangerous if uncontrolled, this is a very valuable system for problem solving and prevention. Further, this system protects the safety of the laboratory personnel and equipment as well as the integrity of the data.