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Back to Tungsten Fibers! Today: How to Safeguard Their Unique Properties and Expand Their Applications

This week, we’re excited to feature a pioneering technique published in the Journal of Advanced Engineering Materials in April 2024. We’re exploring the real potential of our potassium-doped tungsten fibers, also known as light bulb fibers, which are produced by our partner Osram GmbH. These fibers are currently being tested for their potential as reinforcing elements in a variety of composite matrices, expanding beyond traditional tungsten-based applications.

The image below features a structure resulting from an experiment that explored the potential synergies between Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) in the production of tungsten fiber-reinforced composites. A key aspect of this work involves the strategic application of thin CVD-tungsten layers to the ceramic interface. This technique significantly enhances the stability of the composite design during sintering. This novel approach offers a promising pathway for integrating tungsten fibers into diverse matrices, overcoming the challenge of fiber disintegration and yttria instabilities during sintering.

Cross-sectional image of a tungsten fiber, captured using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). This fiber has been coated with yttria using magnetron sputtering techniques, and further enhanced with a secondary tungsten layer applied through Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The image was taken by Alexander Lau at FZJ.
Alexander Lau, Doctoral researcher IEK, Materials and Components, Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung, Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH, picture courtesy of Alexander Lau.
Alexander Lau, Doctoral researcher IEK, Materials and Components, Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung, Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH. Picture courtesy of Alexander Lau.

“Imagine dropping your tea cup; no worries – your new “light bulb cup” won’t shatter!
Concerned about tungsten’s weight? Pair it with a lightweight matrix!
Worried about oxidation? Simply use an oxidation-resistant matrix!
Consider the vast and innovative applications of tungsten fibers if they can be successfully integrated into more or less any matrix material.
These adaptations open up incredible possibilities for everyday applications and industrial challenges far beyond nuclear fusion applications. I hope, that this topic gains the attention it deserves.”

– Alexander Lau

Find Alexander Lau on LinkedIn and Twitter: @LauAlexander164.

Join us in this exciting journey as we uncover the intricacies and innovations of nuclear fusion. Share your thoughts in the comment section below, engage in the discussion, and be a part of shaping our energy future!

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