By Cameron Chai
Helmholtz Alliance LIMTECH, a new research alliance, has been created by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) along with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to develop liquid metal technologies.
Scientists from the German research centers HZDR and KIT are developing liquid metal technologies together with their research partners.
Another major goal of this alliance is to improve the resource and energy efficiency of liquid metal technologies in various processes, including metal casting and the production of solar silicon. The overall investment of the five-year period Alliance is 20 million euros. Scientists from HZDR and KIT work together with other Helmholtz centers and research universities in Germany and overseas. The scope of the Helmholtz Alliance LIMTECH includes establishment of a program for doctoral candidates and close teamwork with industrial partners, so that the study results are effectively implemented.
Liquid metals are utilized in several industrial segments, including light metal and steel castings. As the materials have an ability to store large amounts of energy and dissipate heat effectively, they have significant applications in future technologies, such as energy storage batteries, solar cell production and generation of CO2-free hydrogen. Thermal conductivity of liquid metals is 50 to 100 times greater than that of water. They remain liquid in a wide range of temperatures. Hence, they are suitable to cool down highly energetic thermodynamic processes. The Alliance’s two subprojects focus on the application of liquid metals in solar power facilities.