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NCT Performs Impact Fretting Testing for EDF Energy

ESR Technology’s National Centre of Tribology (NCT) is a tribology-based (friction, wear & lubrication) business with a strong nuclear heritage from its past, when as part of UKAEA it undertook fundamental research into how mechanisms and materials work in the various challenging operational environments in nuclear reactors. Today, our involvement with the nuclear industry is based on tribology consultancy and testing.

Some of our most recent work has involved the development of a 2-axis impact fretting test rig for EDF Energy, the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity. This test rig has been used to investigate a range of AGR coolant chemistries and operating temperatures on the reactor tribology, specifically the wear of the fuel element tie-bars and the fuel pin-brace interaction (PBI). The wear produced on the specimens was assessed in-house using our extensive metallurgical (optical microscopy, SEM-EDX, etc.) and metrological (CMM, WLI profilometry) facilities.

The impact fretting rig which NCT designed and commissioned consists of a length of guide-tube held vertically at the centre of the impact axis, while a portion of tie-bar is mounted horizontally on the fretting axis. By coordinating the movement of the two orthogonal shafts using a digital hydraulic controller from TIAB, any desired in-plane trajectory can be generated. Gas is supplied to the vessel using high accuracy pre-mixed cylinders and a quadrupole mass spectrometer is continuously checking the outlet gas composition.

For more information, please contact Hugues Renondeau at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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