Poles contributed to discovery of new radiation-proof material

Headed by Jan Wróbel of the Warsaw University of Technology (PW), Polish scientists contributed to the discovery of a new radiation-proof, high entropy alloy which may revolutionise the construction of thermonuclear reactors making nuclear energy safer than ever.

The scientists were looking for a solution to the degradability of nuclear reactors construction materials under the influence of radiation. They found out that high entropy alloys, meaning materials of high atom disorder, may just be the solution. These alloys consist of four or more ingredients of similar concentration. The ingredients alloyed together present unique microstructure and unique qualities.

The exploit of the international team has been published in the prestigious “Science Advances”. According to the inventors, the W-Ta-Cr-V (tungsten-tantalum-chromium-vanadium) alloy is extremely resistant to radiation and retains excellent mechanical properties. Because of that, the material could be used in future nuclear reactors and thermonuclear synthesis.

The Polish branch of the group discovered why phases of increased containment of vanadium and chromium atoms are extracted in the alloy. Because of the magnitude of possible combinations of elements and their concentration, the Polish scientists used quantum mechanics coupled with statistical methods and created a theoretical model.

The discovery is a result of the PW Material Engineering Department, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, US and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, the UK.