Dr. Bataller wins NC State’s Faculty Research and Professional Development (FRPD) Award

Congratulations to Dr. Bataller, assistant professor, in NC State’s Department of Nuclear Engineering. The FRPD research award will investigate “Ultrafast Pump-Probe Spectroscopy for Simultaneous Thermophysical Measurements of Molten Salts”.

“Our increasing need for safe, abundant, reliable, and carbon-free energy sources is stimulating renewed interest for using molten salts in advanced fuel cycles and next generation nuclear reactors. For the former application, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories are applying pyrochemical processing to extract fissile material from spent nuclear fuel to help reduce the overall waste stream and greatly extend the supply of nuclear material. For the latter application, molten salt is a promising class of materials for advanced nuclear reactors that function as a fuel solvent and/or a coolant. The unique safety features and low-cost potential of molten salt reactors have helped inspire a new renaissance in advanced nuclear reactor development. On the other hand, the ever-changing chemical landscape within the molten salt over the course of operation presents a significant challenge for accurately predicting fluid behavior. Therefore, developing experimental techniques for benchmarking first-principles models of molten salt structural and fluid behavior is a necessary research task for the successful operation of next generation nuclear reactors. The overarching goal of the proposed research is to perform simultaneous thermal conductivity and heat capacity measurements of molten salts using ultrafast thermoreflectance spectroscopy. The proposed research will establish a new methodology that utilizes ultrafast laser spectroscopy for investigating molten salts and their interaction with reactor materials.” – project summary

NC State’s Faculty Research and Professional Development (FRPD) program is a funding partnership between the Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) and the 10 academic colleges.