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The ITER fusion reactor needs super-strong steel to withstand its fiery hot temperatures. Fortunately, an American national laboratory has developed just such a steel, and has made it affordable as well.  (Source: ITER)
New steel from Oak Ridge National Laboratory is cheaper and stronger than past steel, likely to be used in ITER fusion reactor

DailyTech last month reported that Great Britain was working on  super steels.  These ultra-strong steels would be made possible by preventing irregularities in steel, which weaken its internal magnetics, making it more susceptible to heat.

Now it appears that the Americans have beaten the Brits to the punch, unveiling their own completed super steel.  The new steel was developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. ITER Project Office, which is housed at ORNL.  The ORNL was recently in the news for inventing a new titanium manufacturing technique.

With its new cast stainless steel, it continued its successes. The new steel is approximately 70 percent stronger than comparable steels and could be a boon to the fusion industry.  Its material parameters are being evaluated carefully, as it is being considered for use in shielding ITER's fusion device.

ITER is a multibillion-dollar international research and development project which is accessing the viability of creating a commercial fusion reactor.

The new steel will need to be ultra strong at high temperatures.  One key goal of the project is to develop self-burning plasmas.  Hundreds of tons of shielding will be needed to block heat and radiation from this plasma.  The shielding, primarily composed of super steel, will be close to the plasma, which will be heated to 100 million degrees.  While the shielding itself won't be this hot, it will get more than a little toasty.

ITER is being built at Cadarache, France.  The United States, China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation are all contributing components.  The reactor will be of a tokamak design -- a torus of hot plasma contained by a magnetic field.  The device is expected to produce around 500 MW of fusion power when functioning.

Jeremy Busby of the ORNL Materials Science and Technology Division says designing steel to withstand the extremes of the reactor is a difficult challenge.  He states, "The United States must produce nearly 100 of these modules that are 3-4 tons each and include geometric shapes and openings."

The holes drilled in the steel will weaken it and will result in the loss of 30 percent of the material.  While casting the shape would be more economical and efficient, cast steel traditionally is much weaker.  However, thanks to recent breakthroughs the researchers are beginning to get the problem under control.

Explains Mr. Busby, "We're working to improve the materials' properties to reduce the amount of machining and welding and allow for better performance.  The use of casting can have potential value engineering benefits resulting in cost savings on the order of 20 to 40 percent as compared to machining, so this could be a fairly significant economic issue, both for ITER and in other future uses."

Mike Hechler, USIPO manager of Blanket Shielding and Port Limiter systems, initially approached Mr. Bosby and his team with the request that they design super-steel shielding for the reactor.  Mr. Bosby adds, "He talked with us because of ORNL's materials science expertise.  He was familiar with our industry work and hopeful that we could help provide a solution."

Eighteen months later, the work is almost finished.

In order to strengthen the steel, scientists focused on fracture properties, tensile strength, microstructure properties, welds, impact properties, corrosion performance and radiation resistance.  Through carefully controlled attempts using different casting techniques and varying the composition slightly, his team was able to almost double many key strength properties.

Now Mr. Bosby and his team have to await the final word from ITER on whether the material has passed its standards.  He states, "We expect to hear fairly soon about how our cast stainless steel may be used in this groundbreaking project."

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RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By DanoruX on 10/28/2008 10:49:17 AM , Rating: 4
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere."

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By martinrichards23 on 10/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By codeThug on 10/28/2008 11:46:30 AM , Rating: 4
Welcome to techno-kindergarten

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By uhgotnegum on 10/28/2008 11:53:08 AM , Rating: 5
but that comment sounded so much prettier

Alternative headlines
1.) US sooooo much better than UK at making steel
2.) US is super and so is its steel; UK stuck at "good"
3.) UK better than US at getting into news first, but then there's that problem with producing
4.) If I were super steel, where would I be? Oh yeah, in the US (not the UK, obviously).
5.) Americans make super steel, but UK secretly working on superer. In related news, country of Britain requests that Websters recognize "superer" as a word.

and lastly

6.) America beats UK to super steel; Gordon Ramsey makes a better risotto, kicks US out of Hell's Kitchen

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By JonnyDough on 10/28/2008 5:10:34 PM , Rating: 1

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By Regs on 10/29/2008 7:24:00 AM , Rating: 3
More like "America sub-contracts to India to make super steel".

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By StevoLincolnite on 10/28/2008 11:55:58 AM , Rating: 5
Unfortunately people see the "Worth Reading" and "Not worth reading" as: "I agree" and "I Disagree".

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By uhgotnegum on 10/28/2008 12:13:56 PM , Rating: 4
Interesting, because I actually see this as an example of the opposite argument...

If we accept that both are "purportedly saying the same thing" (paraphrasing his comment), wouldn't the one that people find more pleasing to read, or "worth reading," naturally be bumped up? If it came down to "I agree" or "I disagree" then they would both be voted the same way.

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By jRaskell on 10/28/2008 12:32:07 PM , Rating: 2
You've never seen one of those studies where groups of people are asked the same question worded in two different ways, and the results of each question are drastically different?

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By uhgotnegum on 10/28/2008 12:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that there are studies that show such things, and it even makes sense that the results would vary.

However, if I'm applying what you are implying correctly, wouldn't the question that we are asking be, "Is this post worth reading or not worth reading?" The two posts aren't different answers to two differently worded (yet, substantively identical) questions; they are a different scenario entirely. Here, we're asked the same question (identically worded) to two differently worded (yet, substantively identical) comments.

So, I'd like to think that we're both right...

New headline:

You and I both win...just not in same competition

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By codeThug on 10/28/2008 6:02:12 PM , Rating: 3
Petition DailyTech to include Agree/Disagree rating as well.

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By rcc on 10/28/2008 1:45:12 PM , Rating: 1
The difference between quoting and plagarism is the credit. You forgot it.

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By johnsonx on 10/28/2008 10:36:10 PM , Rating: 1
Placing quote marks around the quote credits it to someone, even if whoever is doing the quoting doesn't quite remember who to credit.

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By rcc on 10/29/2008 1:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
Placing quotes around it means someone actually said it. It doesn't mean it was anyone different than the poster.

And the downward spiral continues. : )

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By johnsonx on 10/30/2008 1:32:05 PM , Rating: 3
How can you tell the downward spiral continues when you've clearly already reached the bottom? Are your comments usually this asinine, or are you being purposely obtuse?

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By rcc on 11/6/2008 12:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
My comments are generally adapted to the audience. They refer to it as Style Flux these days.

However, since you've proved you have internet access, there is really no reason to post a quote without a credit, it takes Google and 30 seconds.

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By JonnyDough on 10/28/2008 5:15:11 PM , Rating: 1

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By codeThug on 10/28/2008 6:04:32 PM , Rating: 4
getting pretty loose with the 6's here dough

RE: "U.S. Beats Britain"
By JonnyDough on 10/29/08, Rating: 0
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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