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Nanoindentation and nanoscratch of coatings for concentrated solar power plants for energy generation - nanoindentation

Concentrating solar power systems (CSP) based on the conversion of the solar thermal energy are one of the most promising sources of renewable energy. New CSP systems with improved multilayer absorber coating are now being developed and their durability has to be tested. This application report shows the use of nanoindentation and scratch testing for characterization of nanomechanical properties of the new coatings before and after degradation tests.

Concentrating solar power systems (CSP) based on the conversion of solar thermal energy to electrical power is one of the most promising and already used sources of renewable energy. Parabolic trough solar collector technology uses mirrors to redirect and focus sunlight which heats the transport fluid in the tube which is then used for electricity production. The parabolic trough solar collector (PTSC) technology has been successfully used worldwide over the last several decades and is currently the most mature of all CSP designs in terms of scientific and technical research. The current systems are designed to work at 400°C, however new systems are now being developed with working temperature of up to 600°C. These new systems should increase the performance by 5 to 10 % which is indispensable for the technology to remain competitive in the green technology market. Unfortunately new degradation processes causing a decrease of the system efficiency can occur at these high temperatures. CSP systems are required to have a lifetime of 20 to 25 years to be economically acceptable; therefore understanding degradation processes is crucial for their further development.

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