OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and 3M are teaming up to study whether adhesives can be developed to join HVACR components. Using neutron imaging capabilities at the lab’s High Flux Isotope Reactor, the research team will characterize novel aluminum-to-copper adhesive bonding materials at the microscopic level. The ability to non-invasively quantify the adhesive’s coverage and evaluate geometric pathways that affect joining strength could ultimately improve efficiency and performance when applied in HVACR systems.

ORNL is also working on a better way to clean and maintain solar mirrors. Keeping solar energy-concentrating mirrors at solar thermal power plants free from dirt is both labor and time intensive. Researchers at ORNL are working to address the challenge with lab-developed superhydrophobic coating technology. “We’ve shown that applying superhydrophobic coating to the surface of solar mirrors reduces dust particle accumulation,” said ORNL’s Georgios Polyzos. “Now, we’re working to improve the coating’s durability, which could make it a cost-effective solution for boosting energy production and operational efficiency at concentrated solar power plants.” The ORNL team is subjecting thinly sprayed mirror samples to simulated harsh desert conditions. Following successful lab testing, they plan to evaluate the coatings on mirrors in the field.

For more information, visit www.ornl.gov.

Publication date: 9/19/2016

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