New Precursors for Plasma-Facing Carbon-based Components

A. Diez, C. Blanco (Sp), R. Santamaria, M. Granda, R. Menendez, CSIC, Oviedo (Spain) 
Carbon materials are good candidates for new applications in extreme environments. They offer many of the desirable requirements for plasma-facing materials: low atomic number, good thermo-mechanical properties, high thermal conductivity, high melting temperature and low coefficient of thermal expansion. However, the properties of these C-based materials still need to be improved. The presence of other elements, as free elements or in chemical compounds, is generally allowed in order to improve the materials properties. This paper studies the development of improved carbon precursors and different synthesis methods for obtaining doped carbon materials with required properties (oxidation resistance, reduced chemical erosion, increased thermal conductivity).

The use of mesophase pitch as precursor of carbon materials usually yields materials of improved properties, as a result of the pre-graphitic structure present in the mesophase. Despite the great potential of mesophase as precursor of different carbon materials, there are not many commercial mesophase pitches available in the market. This paper describes different processes developed at INCAR for the preparation of mesophase pitches from different sources (coal tar and petroleum), which are suitable for the preparation of different carbon materials (i.e. synthetic graphites, carbon fibre-reinforced carbon composites). Moreover, the addition of different dopants and the different possibilities of introducing these dopants into the carbon material (carbon-carbon composites) is evaluated.

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