UP THE HIGH TEMPERATURE SCALE

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Опубликовано в библиотеке: 2021-09-18
Источник: Science in Russia, №2, 2011, C.77-83

by Academician Vladimir FORTOV, director of the RAS Joint Institute of High Temperatures, Moscow

 

The laboratory of thermophysical properties of substances was set up at the Moscow Power-Engineering Institute in 1960 on the initiative of two thermal power engineers, Vladimir Kirillin and Alexander Sheindlin. Since then a small research team has grown into a major center, the Joint Institute of High Temperatures under the auspices of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), a high-profile world research center in power engineering and thermal physics. Its main research and production facilities are concentrated in Moscow. However, testing grounds, workstations and branches have been established also in other cities, including those based in the Community of Independent States.

 

Buildings of пїЅthe RAS Joint Institute of High Temperatures.

 
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The very idea of establishing this laboratory was quite natural. Research conducted at the chair of thermal physics at the Moscow Power-Engineering Institute was needed by the rapidly developing power, nuclear and rocket technology. Its research scale went beyond the traditional college bounds; accordingly, the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences set up a Laboratory of High Temperatures at this college on July 11, 1960. Vladimir Kirillin, the Academy's Corresponding Member (full member in 1962) was appointed its first director with Alexander Sheindlin, Dr. Sc. (Technol.), his deputy. In 1962 the government reorganized the laboratory into an independent Research Institute of High Temperatures. In 1967 this research institute was turned over to the national Academy of Sciences. For more than 20 years Alexander Sheindlin was heading the Institute of High Temperatures.

 

The first steps of the Institute were connected with implementation of research work for advanced energy technologies, calculation of processes and designs of power plants, aviation and rocket engineering. The nuclear reactors under construction at that time needed structural materials capable of withstanding very high temperatures. The Institute's experts studied enthalpy*, thermal conductivity and optical characteristics of high-melting metals such as tungsten, molybdenum, niobium, tantalum, vanadium, graphite, oxides of aluminum and zirconium, carbides of tantalum, hafnium and zirconium, and borides of metals. Evald Shpilrain (RAS Corresponding Member since 1997) and his colleagues carried out experiments in the field of thermophysical properties of alkali metals used in nuclear power fast reactors, direct energy conversion plants, and also in rocket engines of a new type. The experiments were conducted in close cooperation with the Physics and Power-Engineering Institute (town of Obninsk, Moscow Region) headed at that time by the known nuclear physicist Alexander Leipunsky (by the way, this efficient cooperation continues today). At the same time, large plants were developed under the guidance of Boris Petukhov for studying heat exchange in a molten metal flow and heat-carriers undergoing chemical changes at operating temperatures. Also here in the 1960s pioneer research began into low-temperature plasma and the magnetohy-drodynamic (MHD) method of heat energy conversion to electrical energy*.

 

Two new departments were set up at the Institute early in the 1960s, namely, the experimental department headed by Erik Asinovsky, Dr. Sc. (Technol.) and the theoretical department headed by Leon Biberman, USSR AS CorrespondingпїЅ Member (from 1979). They were

 

* Enthalpy (from the Greek "enthalpo", to heat), a characteristic indicating the quantity of energy which can be converted to heat.--Ed.

 

See: A. Prokhorov, Ye. Dianov, "Fiber Optics: Problems and Prospects", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2001; V. Shafranov, "Beyond the Pale of What Is Known", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2010.--Ed.

 
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designed to handle problems of low-temperature plasma, which were priority activities in the institute and closely connected to MHD conversion and rocket engineering (motion of vehicles in dense atmosphere). Being reinforced by graduates from the best Moscow technical institutes, these departments became a real nursery of highly-qualified personnel and dozens of top specialists. Many research projects in the low-temperature plasma of gas discharges (electric arc, microwave discharge and pulse corona, cryogenic and pulse-periodic discharges and metal vapor lasers, and process plasmatrons) and behavioristic characteristics of nonperfect plasma* have become classical.

 

At the same time, beginning from 1963 the Institute developed databases and handbooks on thermodynamic and thermophysical properties of substances. The fundamental publications under the scientific supervision of the RAS Full Member Valentin Glushko**, one of principal rocket experts of the country became desk books for researchers, designers and developers.

 

The magnetohydrodynamic subject area developed stepwise. At the first stage (1960s) scientists suggested physical principles of MHD generators of the open cycle (combustion products in them are a working body, and spent gases discharged into the atmosphere) and demonstrated them on laboratory benches. After that, in 1964 a model power plant U-02, a prototype of the future MHD electric power station, was built in an old-time building of the thermal power station No. 2 in the center of Moscow. In 1971, it was substituted by an experimental industrial plant, U-25. A site for its construction was chosen in the north of Moscow near the thermal power plant No. 21. It helped dealing with problems of energy supply to U-25 and also transfer of the generated electric power to the Mosenergo electrical system. At that time the main scientific departments of the institute were relocated there. Its staff approached 4,000, while its production infrastructure exceeded the conventional academic standards. The work collective forged wide ties at home and abroad, thus turning into a unique center with a huge research potential and production capacity reinforced by a thermal electric power plant nearby. All in all, the institute covered this road in just ten years.

 

Soon a chain of MHD plants appeared next to U-25. At the end of 1977 another U-25B setup was commissioned thanks to Soviet-American cooperation. It installed a superconducting magnet of 5 tesla induction made at the Argonne National Laboratory (USA), and a special channel with 4 kg/s consumption of combustion products was prepared for this magnet. It should be noted that the mere fact of delivery of such large-scale equipmentпїЅ incorporating the latest advances of the

 

* Nonperfect plasma is one in which potential interparticle energy is comparable to interparticle kinetic energy or exceeds it.--Ed.

 

** See: Yu. Markov, "King of the Rocket Fire", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2008.--Ed.

 
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American military-industrial complex from the ocean to our country was unique at that time. The U-25B plant helped obtain the values of current density and electrical field, which were close to parameters of an industrial M H D generator.

 

In 1979, the gained experience paved the way to the design of a 500 mW head industrial MHD power unit and its construction at the Ryazan state district power plant. However, despite the successful commissioning of its steam turboset, the work on the manufacture and assembly of equipment was stopped due to circumstances not related to science. Nevertheless, the obtained results gave rise to a number of associated technologies which found practical use later.

 

From the end of 1977, under the supervision of Acad. Yevgeny Velikhov, impulse MHD generators were developed using powder plasma-forming fuel, which differed from the conventional fuel in special easily-ionized additives in its composition, which provided electric conductivity of combustion products in the channel in the order of 70-100 cm/m at high temperatures (up to 3,900 K). Field tests were carried out all the country round, namely, on the Kola Peninsula, in the Astrakhan lowland, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, in the Urals, in the Trans-Baikal and Central Asia. In addition to the already existing Garm proving ground in Tajikistan, two more similar ones appeared in Central Asia, the scientific centers close to the city of Frunze (the present Bishkek) in Kirghizia and near the city of Andizhan in Uzbekistan. In the second half of the 1980s the Institute set about applying the MHD method to control high-velocity gas flows. Such experiments were connected, first of all, with the problem of developing supersonic craft, i.e. with the Mach numbers * within the range of 5-8 and higher. If it becomes possible to find a method of such action of incoming air on aircraft that can reduce markedly aerodynamic drag and level of heat currents on aircraft covering, then implementation of the idea of supersonic flights can be advanced essentially. At the same time, the concept of the reverse problem, that of a "MHD parachute", was also defined in the Institute. It was based on the idea of the braking action of a space vehicle in the upper atmosphere through application of MHD interaction, which increases the "apparent" lateral dimension of a space vehicle and involves a large mass of air into the process, which predetermines braking intensification by full analogy with the parachute system. Hence the name, a "MHD parachute".

 

Moreover, MHD gave birth to new practicable technologies in metallurgy, first of all. The riders ("hot" supporting facilities for reheating furnaces of rolling mills) and the rollers (elements of continuous casting plants) for metallurgical furnaces merited a USSR State Prize in 1989.

 

* Mach number is a dimensionless characteristic of compressible gas flow equal to the ratio of flow velocity to sound velocity at the same point. Named after the Austrian scientist Ernst Mach.--Ed.

 
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The research in electrodynamics and thermal physics of superconductors, which resulted in the development of unique designs of superconducting magnetic systems for MHD generators and inductive energy storage units, also had practical applications. The development team headed by Vladimir Zenkevich, Dr. Sc. (Technol.) was awarded a State Prize in 1988. The development of high-temperature superconductivity* expanded substantially the field of industrial application of this phenomenon, and today superconducting power cables and current-limiting circuit breakers are successfully introduced in electrical power engineering.

 

Another major stage in the Institute's activity was connected with the development of the Plant 30-28 for experimental study of heat and mass exchange processes. This plant was used for unique experiments on evaluation of properties of different materials and articles in a supersonic flow under additional action of powerful laser emission.

 

The gasdynamic research conducted at the Institute has also almost a forty-year history. The team of top specialists in this field is headed by Tatiana Bazhenova, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.). The scientific school established by her received recognition both in this country and abroad.

 

Starting from 1968 the so-called general problems of electric power engineering have been in the sphere of our interests. They include a technical and economic analysis of its current state both in this country and abroad, the main trends, generation of development scenarios, and forecast. Acad. Lev Melentyev headed the systems energy study by order of the country leadership, and in 1985 his department was upgraded to the independent Institute of Energy Study under the auspices of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Our Institute focused its efforts first on problems connected with the application of gas turbine plants and combined cycle gas turbines in electric power engineering (they are topical even today) and later, in 2005-2007, due to signs of systems crisis tendencies in electric power engineering. Sheindlin and his colleagues carried out a complex analysis of the situation first in the Moscow region and then nationwide. Besides, the Institute was virtually the originator of the innovation section in the Energy Strategy of the Russian Federation for a Period up to 2030 approved by the government in 2009.

 

Analysis of general problems of the development of electric power engineering was always backed by promising technologies. A steam-to-gas power generator with cycle gasification of high-sulfur residual oil was put into operation at the thermal power station in the city of Dzerzhinsk, Nizhni Novgorod Region. It was based on the concept of an electricity generating plant with a supercharged boiler cycle (differs from steam power and gas turbine plants in higher efficiency) as set forth by Acad. Sergei Khristianovich in the 1950s. As applied to coal fuel, its gasification in a circulating boiling bed under pressure was studied at a major plant TFR-300 developed at the end of the 1980s by our specialists in cooperation with Czech colleagues. Fair results were achieved for conditions of coal gasification not only in the USSR but also in a number of other countries.

 

In the middle of the 1990s our Institute proceeded to work on production of a synthetic liquid fuel from gaseous hydrocarbons within the framework of Gazprom. The work resulted in the development of small-tonnage and intermediate energy-independent plants (Sintop-1 and Sintop-300) for their production based on modified diesel engines, in whose cylinders a partial oxidation reaction of gaseous hydrocarbons takes place with formation of synthetic gas, a primary product for liquid fuel. Such equipment is attractive for handling the problem of associated gases utilization.

 

Now our Institute works closely with OAO Federal Network Company of the Unified Energy System (Moscow) in improving the efficiency, stability and safety of electric power engineering. We participate, in particular, in the development of the GRID concept, an open standardized computer-based (intelligent) electrical network. Besides, we are making use of experience in electrophysics and development of programs for numerical simulation of gas-dynamic processes with the aim of preventing explosions on major power units.

 

Mobile sources of pulse current simulating lightning strokes being developed in the Institute will also work for safety of the above power units. Set for a full-scale simulation of spark discharges, they can be placed in a truck body. Such sources rest on a generator using explosive materials for short and powerful electromagnetic pulses. By the above equipment both electric power and other large setups, such as nuclear power plants, telecommunications units, rocket systems, etc., can be tested for action of electrical current and electromagnetic field of lightning.

 

A major project is under way together with the Moscow machine-building production enterprise Salyut. At the former thermal power station No. 28 (today a branch of thermal power station No. 21) of OAO Mosenergo we construct Russia's first integrated combined-cycle heating power plant MES-60 of 60 mW, with steam injection, waste heat recovery and a heat pump station.

 

The development of full-scale experimental works in the field of renewable energy sources gave birth to, the Solntse (Sun) testing station in the city of Makhachkala in 1984 to study prospects for application of solar energy.

 

In 1986 a new department, that of thermophysical properties of substances and high-energy action, was set up on the basis of the existing divisions of the Institute; it soon became a research center and later, an Institute of Thermophysics of Impulse Action (subsequently upgraded to the Institute of Thermophysics of Extreme

 

See: V. Sytnikov, V. Vysotsky, "Superconducting Technologies in Power Engineering", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2010.--Ed.

 

Science in Russia, No. 2, 2011

 
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States). To handle nontrivial problems in this sphere we developed major stands, such as blasting chambers, capacitor banks with current up to 10 mA, magnetic explosion generators in the megavoltage range with gigawatt level capacity. It promoted further work on the classical thermophysics, also in the field of extremely high pressure and temperature.

 

The data obtained in the shock-wave experiments made it possible to derive wide-range equations of a form suitable for consequent numerical simulation of high-speed processes. Calculated for several hundred substances, they found application in calculations of high-speed collision of bodies, electric blast of conductors, action of laser and X-ray radiation, electron and ion beams colliding with material. This information proved to be very useful in optimization of the design of missile multilayer coatings, including the Topol-M missile. The experimental results on shock wave generation and physical properties of substances at high temperatures and pressure became a base for model forecasts connected with evaluation of the asteroid danger and possible consequences of collision of cosmic bodies and space vehicles.

 

The fundamental research of our Institute is focused also on handling of problems of safe nuclear power engineering*, especially topical after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (1986). We had to carry out experiments in the field of combustion, explosion and detonation in large enclosed volumes. Such experiments became possible after one of the two blasting chambers available in the country with the sphere diameter 12 m and the wall thickness 100 mm (Sfera plant) had been delivered to our Institute. Manufactured from armor steel it could withstand blasting with one-ton explosives.

 

Noteworthy is also our joint series of research with the RAS Institute of Chemical Physics Problems in strength and thermomechanical properties of materials at impulsive loading (high-speed impact, explosion, etc.) conducted during the last 20 years under the scientific supervision of RAS Corresponding Member Gennady Kanel. As a result, important characteristics of materials in extreme conditions were discovered.

 

The Institute pioneered in the study of dust plasma (ionized gas consisting of micron and submicron particles of a solid substance) with a high intensity of inter-particle interaction, which developed rapidly in the middle of the 1990s. These experiments fell outside the framework of the laboratory and were realized on board first of the Mir orbital complex and then the International Space Station**. A wide range of various experiments on dust plasma was performed in broad cooperation with the Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation, the Troitsk Institute of Innovative and Thermonuclear Research (town of Troitsk, Moscow Region), the Leipunsky Physics and Energy Institute, the Moscow Physics and Technology Institute, and the Institute of Space Physics of the Max Planck Scientific Society (Germany). There are also achievements in cooperation with German and Japanese colleagues and also with our Moscow partners from the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the RAS Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics, developing a new sphere of research at the junction of plasmochemistry and medicine. Experiments on generation of extreme-state substances by powerful (1012W) femtosecond (10-15 s) lasers* started at the end of the 1990s have found applications in public health.

 

Early in the 21st century Alexander Sheindlin initiated research in aluminum hydrogen power engineering. It implied using aluminum for production of electric power either with the help of electrochemical generators or as an intermediate energy carrier for hydrogen release during aluminum oxidation in water or water steam. In this case it is considered to be an alternative to hydrogen or an additional link in process flow schemes of hydrogen power engineering. We developed demonstration units with capacity from several watts to hundreds of kilowatts and analyzed different schemes of electric power plants. The latter included a hydrogen or steam-hydrogen generator (such mixture is produced by oxidation of aluminum or its alloys) serving as a source of a working body for conventional or advanced heat engines and other systems. Besides, we are planning to work on a MHD generator based on products of this reaction as one of alternatives.

 

It should be noted that the Institute felt the hard way of the troubles of the early 1990s, a period of drastic changes in the political and economic situation of Russia, namely, the departure of young people, technical specialists and expatriation of skilled workers, and expatriation of top scientists. It became difficult to maintain in full measure the production and experimental base. Nevertheless, we survived and kept our advanced positions in the sphere of power engineering and thermophysics, wherein a substantial merit belongs to the former director and the USSR AS Corresponding Member (from 1987) Vyacheslav Batenin. He managed even to give support to the development of new research, in particular, in the field of new power technologies and magnetoplasma aerodynamics.

 

It seemed to many that at that time of troubles small organizations possessing certain financial and economic self-support could adjust more easily to new conditions. Eight such organizational entities (by the way, not all of them got convinced of the usefulness of such indepen-

 

See: V. Subbotin, "Nuclear Power Safety", Science in Russia, No. 1, 1999.--Ed.

 

** See: E. Galimov, "'Phobos-Grunt', the Russian Project", Science in Russia, No.пїЅ 1, 2006; Ye. Multykh, "Space Navigation", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2009.--Ed.

 

* See: I. Shcherbakov, "Laser Physics in Medicine", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2010.--Ed.

 
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dence and declined it in course of time) were set up already under the present names in the once single institute. The general management was carried out by the Council of Directors, and RAS Corresponding Member Andrei Lagarkov was elected its chairman in 1999, who remained in that office till the end of 2006 and headed then the Moscow Institute of Theoretical and Applied Electrodynamics separated from the Joint Institute of High Temperatures. Two years before that one more research team, namely, the scientific station in Bishkek (Kirghizia), had left our institute. It is a unique case when the only RAS institution is situated in the territory of another state. In 2007, the author of this paper became director of the Joint Institute of High Temperatures.

 

The subject area of our research today is defined in the List of Critical Technologies of the Russian Federation approved by the Russian government in 2008 and having significant social, economic and defense importance for the country as a whole and safety of the state. The list includes technologies designed to develop energy-saving systems of transportation, distribution and consumption of heat and electric power, renewable energy sources, production of nanomaterials, fuels and energy from organic raw material, processing and recycling of technogenic products and waste, development of new generations of rocket-and-space, aircraft and marine engineering, protection of the population and vital objects against terrorist acts.

 

The RAS Moscow Regional Explosion Multi-Access Center and the Laser Terawatt Femtosecond Complex are operating on the basis of our Institute. Their primary plants are included in the list of unique equipment in Russia.

 

We are participating in ten programs of fundamental research approved by the RAS Presidium and in twelve programs initiated by the RAS Department of Power Engineering, Mechanics and Control Processes. We are implementing fifteen projects under the federal target program "Research and Development of Priority Trends in the Scientific and Technical Complex of Russia for 2007-2012"; we are developing competitive technologies in power engineering and energy saving, and in the industry of nanosystems and materials.


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© Vladimir FORTOV () Источник: Science in Russia, №2, 2011, C.77-83

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