Equipex PLANEX Orléans

Experimental Planet: In-situ analyses and simulations under extreme conditions
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PLANEX aims at developing a high pressure high temperature (HP-HT) experimental and analytical platform allowing to perform in situ chemical, structural and isotopic analyses, on fluids (molten silicates and salts, hydrous fluids and gases) and simulation of fluid transfer processes in geomaterials or their synthetic equivalents. To reach this goal it gathers the expertises of 8 laboratories: ISTO (experimentation on silicate liquids HP-HT), CEMHTI (HT in-situ spectroscopies on silicate liquids and molten salts), LPC2E (gaz spectroscopy, isotopes), GREMI (X-ray flash source), CRPG (isotopic analysis via ion probe), BRGM (simulations of fluid transfers in reactive media), IRCP (molten salts and fuel cells), and Institut Néel (transparents IHPV and X-Ray measurements on synchrotron)

The scientific goals are :

  1. a better understanding of the processes of fluid transfer or storage in the Earth’s crust (of natural or anthropic origin) ;
  2. a better quantification of geothermal processes of high enthalpy ;
  3. the development of improved thermodynamic models of silicate liquids and molten salts rich in volatile elements ;
  4. a better comprehension of nucleation/crystallisation processes in geological or industrial fluids ;
  5. the determination of isotope fractionation factors in volatile rich systems with coexisting molten/gas/fluid phases.


This will be achieved via the measurement of key physico-chemical properties of fluids/melts/gases, and of their host, either at the microscopic scale (speciation), via the implementation of spectroscopic tools, or macroscopically by direct determination of transport properties (permeability, emissivity, conductivity). This will allow to propose rigorous models of the various measured properties, which in turn will allow to derive sound physico-chemical bulk models with real predictive power for either natural or industrial systems involving fluid storage, transfer or production, hence allowing the optimisation of industrial processes.

The research activities will have a direct impact on the following socio-economic fields :

  1. In terms of risk management, a better definition of volcanic catastrophe risks, owing to a better description of the properties the silicate liquids and gases;
  2. the exploitation of geothermal resources in volcanic fields ;
  3. an improvement of industrial processes producing high added value consumer goods (glasses, ceramics, gases) or involving molten salts (fuel cells) ;

the industry oriented toward energy storage through H2 or Air injection underground, as well as that directly involved in CO2 mitigation technologies.