Neutron Scattering Instrumentation for Measurement of Melt Structure Page: 4 of 15
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Neutrons are an important tool for investigation of physical, chemical and biological phenomena
[2-4]. There are currently 32 neutron facilities in operation throughout the world and seven more
are under construction, the total number of beamlines exceeds 100.
The goal of this project was to establish the basis for new instrumentation to expand the use of
neutron measurements beyond their current limits by investigating the structure of molten
materials, non-equilibrium liquids, and ultra-high temperature materials in-situ. The Phase I
research demonstrated measurements of liquid structure at temperatures up to 2000 K by
integrating an aerodynamic levitator with a CO2 heating laser and a neutron beamline. The
Phase II research implemented an advanced levitator design capable of studying materials at
temperatures over 3000 K in conditions that practically eliminate contributions to the data from
the sample environment.
Liquids, and in particular molten materials are critical in value-added materials processing,
energy production, geological processes, metallurgical refining, and they are of fundamental
interest materials physics [5,6]. The structure of liquids and the structural changes which occur
during solidification, the onset of glass formation and as the liquid viscosity changes with
temperature are important in understanding and controlling material's behavior.
The combination of neutron techniques and containerless experimentation [7-9] enable advances
in neutron instrumentation by: (i) elimination of interactions between the container and the
molten sample - this is especially important when corrosive high temperature liquids or very hot
solids are being handled, (ii) elimination of container-derived heterogeneous nucleation of
liquids - this allows deep undercooling to access metastable liquids and novel glasses, and (iii) a
reduced contribution by container scattering in the results.
Emerging high-flux beam lines such as spallation neutron sources provide a large accessible
Q-range leading to high real space resolution. The new facilities can enable fast measurements
of liquid structure during dynamic changes such as vitrification, crystallization and other
processing operations which are key to the development and manufacture of advanced materials
and to improved understanding of geological processes.
This report summarizes the research results.
Phase II Technical Objectives and Research Tasks:
The four Phase II technical objectives are presented below.
Task 1 - Design and construct an advanced instrument for studies of liquid structure under
extreme conditions which incorporates features identified in the Phase I design
Task 2 - Develop and test software package for data acquisition and analysis.
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Weber, Richard & Benmore, Christopher. Neutron Scattering Instrumentation for Measurement of Melt Structure, report, October 21, 2004; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc786971/m1/4/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.