Energy Systems and Components Research
Argonne's experience can reduce downtime for energy system plants,
potentially saving millions of dollars.

n Introduction

Argonne's long involvement in developing and testing prototypes of energy system components, subsystems, and complete plant designs has focused on nuclear and fossil-fuel applications. Work has included modeling existing plant configurations, devising improved sensor and control strategies, and evaluating the reliability of components under normal and accident conditions.

Working with the Electric Power Research Institute, Argonne developed a comprehensive set of generic force coefficients for use in analyzing vibration in steam generators. The Argonne-developed methodology can predict possible failure of a generator, allowing for improved preventive maintenance and a potential cost savings of millions of dollars.

A prototype of a real-time sensor validation system has recently been delivered to Florida Power's Crystal River Plant for testing. The system monitors plant sensors, compares signals received from the sensors, and provides early warning of sensor malfunction.

n Component Reliability

Conduct research and development on individual components or subsystems to increase reliability and reduce failure

Condition-based maintenance using advanced artificial intelligence methods.

Expertise in water chemistry and environmental effects on component lifetime.

Statistical mixed-effects modeling using in-service inspection data.

Expertise in corrosion in advanced combustion systems.

Expertise in tribology of advanced coatings.

Near-frictionless coating that is nearly as hard as diamond.

Expertise in reducing wear in gas turbine components.

Methodology for controlling flow-induced vibration in plant systems.

Structural and thermal-hydraulic analyses of components and systems.

n Sensors

Develop, test, and validate advanced sensors and related data analysis methods:

On-line, real-time leak detection and measurement of flow, level, temperatures, and leak location.

Sensor validation on-line and in real time.

Fault-tolerant capability using virtual sensors.

Advanced ultrasonic, millimeter wave, and optical sensors for nondestructive evaluation of components.

Improved user interfaces for integration of multiple sensor data.

Nondestructive evaluation of cable integrity.

n Systems Analysis

Study overall system integration, combining detailed component and subsystem behavior with external physical, economic, and policy constraints:

Integrated system reliability and lifetime prediction.

Health risk assessment of energy systems.

Monitoring of systems for fault detection, identification, and diagnosis.

Probabilistic risk assessment.

Utility system planning.

n Contacts

For technical information, contact Richard Valentin, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 308, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 630/252-4483; fax: 630/252-3250; e-mail:

For information on working with Argonne, contact Paul Eichamer, Industrial Technology Development Center, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 201, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 800/627-2596; fax: 630/252-5230.

February 1998

Argonne National Laboratory is operated by The University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. W-31-109-Eng-38.

A heat exchanger tube bundle is inserted into a water channel to be tested for flow-induced vibrations.