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Our Laboratory's Capabilities

The H. H. Uhlig Corrosion Laboratory has the ability to test and analyze failure modes of any materials related to nuclear engineering in the fields of fission, fusion and nuclear research, with samples from nanometers to meters in size. We can carry a project from concept through execution and analysis with the facilities on site.

Material Creation

In addition to samples prepared from the field we have the ability to manufacture our own alloys, tune the macrostructure & microstructure, and analyze them.

Our vacuum induction melter gives us the ability to custom melt any alloy we require.

hot roller rod maker wire wrapper
Our fleet of hot rollers, cold rollers, wire dies and welding equipment allow us to take a material in any form and convert it into a form useful for an experiment.

machine shop
The in-house machine shop allows us to machine our samples on site, as well as any supporting equipment required for our experiments.

Experimental Setups

Our fleet of furnaces, tensile testers, load cells, autoclaves, loops, hardness testers and electrochemical cells ensure we have the means to perform our experiments in house.

Our electrochemistry lab is equipped with high precision potentiostats as well as high quality electrodes and pH meters in order to study the role of electrochemistry in corrosion.

instron3 instron4 instron5 instron6
The Instron load cells and tensile testers allow us to determine the strength, fracture toughness and durability of different materials.  Loads up to 50,000 pounds with any waveform are possible.

bwr loop autoclave
supercritical water lead furnace
Our BWR water loop, supercritical water loop, supercritical CO2 loop and the Lead-Bismuth furnace allow us to test the strength and corrosion resistance of nuclear materials in environments they would experience in actual reactors.  This gives us accurate data about how the materials will actually perform in the field.

furnace1 furnace2
furnace3 furnace 4
furnace5 furnace7
The furnaces in our basement can test corrosion, diffusion and temperature-dependent behavior of materials up to 2000°C. Multi-year tests are possible with these very dependable furnaces. These also allow us to heat treat our materials to achieve a desired microstructure.

Sample Analysis

After the experiment is complete our sample preparation and analysis equipment allow us to prepare our samples in an analyzable form and carry out the analysis.

diamond saws
The low-speed diamond saws allow for precise sectioning of samples as hard as solid silicon carbide.

bakelite presses epoxies
The bakelite presses and epoxy molds allow us to mount metallographic samples for easy polishing and analysis.

Our Buehler polishers grind and polish our samples to a mirror finish of <50nm.

chem cabinets fume hood
The chemistry lab is home to quite the collection of etchants for sample etching.

optical microscope near
Our Zeiss optical microscope takes digital photos at up to 500x, and is equipped with the latest image processing software for image analysis.

Our Topcon SEM is equipped with EDX to allow for high resolution sample photos and detailed elemental analysis, including linescans and element mapping.  Magnifications of 140,000x are possible in the top stage, and 35,000x in the bottom stage.  Radioactive samples can safely be analyzed in this microscope, allowing us to test samples from MIT's nuclear reactor or from the field.

Associated Labs and Capabilities

The MITR-II Nuclear Reactor is a 5 megawatt high-flux reactor.  Samples can be easily irradiated in order to test material properties and corrosion in acutal radioactive environments.

The Plasma Science Fusion Center (PSFC) houses a very expansive machine shop across the street from us with talented machinists.  If we can't build something, they can!

The Center for Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE) has all manners of analysis equipment, including high resolution SEM, TEM, AFM, microprobe, TGA, Auger, XPS and XRD capabilities.

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