Equipex PLANEX Orléans

Experimental Planet: In-situ analyses and simulations under extreme conditions
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Scientific goals

The technological implementations proposed in the PLANEX project will allow us not only to measure in situ material properties but also to simulate important natural and industrial processes directly in the laboratory. The research is then focused on the following targets:

Target 1 :
Permeability/porosity relationships of rocks and their time evolution as geochemical reactions proceed under hydrothermal conditions.

Target 2 :
Microscopic structure (speciation) of molten materials (alumino-silicate liquids and salts) and that of the co-existing gas.

Target 3 :
Time scales of nucleation and crystallisation in molten materials at constant or varying P-T conditions.

Target 4 :
Emissivity, radiative and electrical conductive properties of volatile-bearing silicate/salt liquids in the presence or absence of crystals and gas bubbles.

Target 5 :
Isotopic compositions of coexisting gas/silicate-salt liquids/minerals, and their evolution with pressure and temperature, and time.

Target 6 :
Structural, thermal and electrochemical properties of molten carbonates and carbonate/oxide composites for high-temperature fuel cells and CO2 capture.

Each of the above targets has first order implications for several interconnected issues fundamental to both theacademic and industrial fields :

Target 1 addresses the genesis of resources associated to hydrothermal processes, the problem ofgeological storage of CO2, and the characterisation of potential sources of geothermal energy and for the transient deep storage of excess energy (e.g., compressed air, H2).

Target 2 will lead to development of thermochemical models based on the identification of the nature and abundances of molecular species in liquids/gases, which are a vital pre-requisite for understanding volcanic phenomena, for the source and reactive transport of ore-forming elements (Li, Pt, Au,Rare Earths…), and for improving glass-forming industrial processes or electrolyte production for use in cells (Li).

Target 3 addresses the dynamics of molten systems when subjected to temperature/pressure changes, and, in combination with Target 4, will provide important insights into magma evolution at depth or during ascent, as well as into glass manufacture and thermal efficiency.

Target 4 will provide data needed to model the temperature evolution of cooling magma bodies, thereby improving, in combination with Target 1, the definition of the geothermal potential of volcanic fields.

Target 5 will define isotope behaviour during magma degassing, so as to better evaluate the contribution of volcanic degassing to the atmosphere and for developing predictive models for volcano unrest, altogether allowing a quantitative use of isotope signals in deciphering source and dynamic processes of magmatic-hydrothermal fluids (also relevant, for instance, to understanding ore-deposits, and to geothermal exploration).

Target 6 will provide data on the structure and physical-chemical properties of molten carbonates with additives (rare earths etc.) or molten carbonate/oxide composites, electrolytes in molten carbonate fuel cells, MCFC, (in a range of 550-700°C, under atmospheric or pressurized conditions). It will allow to establish transport and electrochemical modeling in fuel cells conditions.

See equipment and instruments used for PLANEX.