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Chemical and Fuel Cycle Technologies Division

Molten Salt Technology Development Facilities

An extensive array of inert atmosphere gloveboxes and supporting equipment for molten salt chemistry and process development.

We offer an extensive array of radiological and non-radiological inert atmosphere gloveboxes for molten salt technology development and property measurements. These facilities also enable work with air-sensitive materials including metals, ceramics, and specialized coatings. A wide variety of capabilities exist within our gloveboxes including in-situ electroanalytical instrumentation that allows for unparalleled control and optimization of molten salt chemical processes. The gloveboxes are also equipped with instrumentation specifically dedicated to measuring numerous crucial molten salt thermophysical properties. These gloveboxes support research related to electrochemical fuel reprocessing technology, molten salt reactors, fuel fabrication, waste form development, concentrated solar power systems, and metals production.

Gloveboxes Supporting Pilot- and Bench-Scale Operations

  • Argon, helium, and nitrogen atmospheres
  • Different gloveboxes dedicated to actinide (U, Np, Pu, Am, Cm), uranium-only, and non-radioactive materials work
  • Fluoride and chloride salts, reactive metals, and hygroscopic materials
  • Beryllium and cadmium handling capabilities
  • Air atmosphere gloveboxes are also available for aqueous radiochemistry work

Pilot-scale Molten Salt Chemical Processing Equipment

  • Electrorefiners for metals separation and purification
  • Electroreduction equipment for oxide to metal conversion
  • Salt distillation and purification
  • Liquid metal separations

Instrumentation and Thermophysical Property Measurement Capabilities

  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter
    • Heat capacity
    • Melting point
    • Phase transition and equilibria measurements
  • Rotating Spindle Viscometer
  • Density via in-house developed Archimedes method
  • Benchtop Laser Flash Analysis system for thermal diffusivity measurements
  • Solubility via a saturation method
  • Electroanalytical instrumentation for process analysis, monitoring, and control
    • Pilot-scale and analytical-scale
  • Automated molten salt pipette for micro-sample generation
  • High-throughput X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry for salt composition measurements
  • X-ray Diffraction for phase characterization
  • Analytical Chemistry Laboratory with extensive expertise and capabilities for analysis of salt samples using wet chemistry and spectroscopic techniques
  • Specialized equipment for high energy X-ray analysis of molten salt chemistries at the Argonne Advanced Photon Source.

Glovebox-Integrated and Portable Furnaces

  • Well furnaces: 6 to 36 inches in diameter, 800°C maximum temperature
  • Induction furnaces: 2000°C maximum temperature
  • Bench top furnaces for analytical-scale work, up to 1100°C
  • Specialized furnace equipment for sample preparation and electrochemical processing