Purification of molten salts and identification of impurities

with Amanda Leong,
Research Assistant Professor, Nuclear Engineering Program at Virginia Tech

September 22, 2023, 10:10 am
117A Randolph Hall

The presence of impurities such as oxides, sulfides, and moisture in molten salts can trigger corrosive reactions with structural materials. Consequently, the purification of molten salt holds significant importance in a wide array of industrial and scientific applications, with a particular focus on advanced energy systems like nuclear and solar power. This purification process serves as a cornerstone in maintaining the quality and integrity of molten salt as a medium for heat transfer and energy storage. The removal of impurities and contaminants through molten salt purification not only enhances system efficiency but also prolongs its operational lifespan, thereby bolstering the dependability and sustainability of clean energy technologies. The critical role played by molten salt purification in ensuring the performance and safety of these pioneering energy solutions cannot be overstated. This seminar will delve into the essential aspects of accurately measuring and comprehending impurities within molten salt to ensure that material degradation remains within prescribed design limits. The assessment of oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur, and carbon concentrations in molten salts will be explored through combustion analysis, while metallic impurities will be identified using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Furthermore, the seminar will address the complexities involved and best practices for assessing these parameters, shedding light on the indispensable role of molten salt purification in cutting-edge energy systems.

Amanda Leong is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Program at Virginia Tech. She obtained her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, along with a Nuclear Engineering certificate, from Virginia Tech in 2022. Leong earned her bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University in 2017, where she graduated with honors in research distinction. Throughout her career, Leong has amassed extensive experience in the field, primarily focusing on research related to nuclear reactor systems. Her contributions span a wide range of projects, including the construction of equipment setups such as a molten salt purification system, the establishment of redox potential limits in fluoride salts, oversight of an aqueous corrosion flow loop, management of a stress corrosion cracking (SCC) system, and supervision of high-temperature and pressure electrochemical cells. Additionally, she has adeptly integrated multiple data acquisition systems to ensure efficient control and monitoring of equipment facilities, showcasing her proficiency in materials characterization.