Date Thesis Awarded

5-2017

Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Physics

Advisor

Willam Cooke

Committee Members

Mainak Patel

Gina Hoatson

Abstract

Solar central receiver power plants are an up-and-coming clean energy option which make use of concentrated solar power. In order to function, these systems must be able to store molten “solar salt” (40% potassium nitrate, 60% sodium nitrate), which has proven to be highly corrosive to stainless steel. Slowing the corrosion rate of stainless steel when exposed to molten salt would be a significant step in the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of solar central receiver power plants, but in order to test the effectiveness of various treatments, we first need a method of characterizing the thickness of the corrosion layer. We have developed a means of determining the thickness of the corrosion layer by examining the oxygen and iron content at varying depths of a stainless steel sample exposed to molten salt using energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy at varying accelerating voltages, enabling a non-invasive, non-destructive technique for this necessary characterization.

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