A British Debut

2023-03-31 | Corporate

“This was one of our most challenging installations ever,” explains Ana Maria Fuentes, sales engineer at Anton Paar Ltd. “We successfully installed an MCR 302e rheometer with a temperature capacity of up to 1,000 °C in an inert glove box.”

MoltexFLEX, a subsidiary of the Canadian Moltex Energy Limited, presented the concept of the FLEX reactor in 2022 - a so-called molten salt reactor with the size of a single-family house, which should supply around 40,000 households with electricity. The advanced nuclear technology is intended to serve as a supplement to wind and solar energy, be extremely flexible and usable as needed. Fluoride salts serve as fuel and coolant.

Precise results with a unique solution
“Molten salt is very sensitive in terms of viscosity and density. Hence accurate information of these parameters at different temperatures is vital,” explains Phil Quayle, senior chemist at MoltexFLEX. There is little information on how the fluoride salts used in the FLEX reactor behave at high temperatures. Only a few companies and research institutions have studied density and viscosity because the salt is contaminated by even the smallest amounts of oxygen or water, which distorts the data. Installing the rheometer in the glove box, which is filled with pure nitrogen gas, solves this problem and allows scientists to obtain accurate results. The team of Anton Paar Ltd. has calibrated the rheometer with chloride salts at lower temperatures, now MoltexFLEX can generate highly accurate data on the rheological behavior of the FLEX salts.

“As far as we and Anton Paar are aware, no one in the United Kingdom has installed a high-temperature rheometer in a climate-controlled environment like this,” says chemist Beth Mapley, who develops processes for using uranium fluoride surrogate fuel salt. “It's really exciting to be able to work on cutting-edge research like this,” she adds.