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The MESSIAH Chair, at the forefront of mini-test tubes

The MESSIAH Chair, forMini-Tests for the In-Service Monitoring of Structures with Application to Hydrogen Transport”, is a research project set up in 2020 by RICE in partnership with several organisations.

The MESSIAH Chair: a change of scale project to better map the network

The MESSIAH Chair, forMini-Tests for the In-Service Monitoring of Structures with Application to Hydrogen Transport”, is a research project set up in 2020 by RICE in partnership with several organisations.

Its objective is to develop an experimental protocol for testing mini-tubes, extracted in a “quasi non-destructive” manner, from metal structures in service, in order to study their mechanical properties in tension and at break.

This project responds to a need for efficiency in the knowledge of the network: today, in the context of preparing the network for hydrogen injection, it is necessary to identify the mechanical properties of steel in order to evaluate the impact of hydrogen on them. When the latter are not known, an operator could be led to take a steel sample directly from the network in operation, thus obliging him to interrupt transit and repair the section concerned, operations which entail significant costs and operational constraints.

The objective of the MESSIAH Chair’s work on mini-tests is therefore to validate a protocol for reliably qualifying the mechanical properties of the network from small samples that can be taken without cutting: the idea is to machine the smallest possible test specimen while taking into account the nature of the mechanical loads on the network (internal pressure, bending, tension) and the effect of scale related to the dimensions of the test specimen.

SENT Standard Macro Test Tube & Mini Sample Test Tube (Dimensions: 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm)
A multi-actor portage providing an interesting leverage effect for its members

Carrying the Chair

The MESSIAH Chair is part of a project proposed by the French National Research Agency (ANR), which co-finances cooperation projects between public higher education and research institutions and industrial players, in their early development phase (feasibility and launch of a technology). Within the framework of the MESSIAH Chair, ARMINES is associated with five private companies (GRTgaz, Air Liquide, Transvalor, EDF and Mannesmann), each of which has an interest in the work carried out. The ANR, which supervises the project over a period of 4 years, finances 50% of it and the companies provide the rest of the funding, which guarantees them a more favourable research context than if they were to carry it out alone.

Each industrialist has a particular interest in the project and wishes to test the protocol on mini-test tubes in response to a clearly defined problem. In the case of GRTgaz, the aim is to take advantage of these small samples taken on the system, with a view to establishing the most exhaustive possible mapping of the system in terms of mechanical properties.

Moreover, the work is carried out in partnership with the teaching structure ARMINES and thus carries important stakes in terms of teaching, with the involvement of several doctoral and post-doctoral students among others.

The program schedule

After a feasibility study on the subject of mini-test tubes in the form of a Mines ParisTech PhD from 2018 to 2020, the industrial chair application (detailing the principles of the partnership, the project objectives, the technical challenges and technological locks to be lifted as well as the budget) was submitted to the ANR in March 2020 after 2 months of preparation. The team was auditioned by the ANR in May and the subject was selected in July. The following months were used to finalize the contract between the stakeholders, particularly on the legal aspects, for a signature of the project in October 2020.

The work officially started on December 7, 2020 and is planned for four years, with six work packages identified: test protocols, development of the hydrogen loading device, performance of mechanical tests, classification and processing of data, development of simulation tools, transfer methodology and drafting of a pre-standard.

The pyrogasification and hydrothermal gasification channels for the injection of gas into the networks are under development. Our ongoing research and development and innovation efforts are aimed at demonstrating the technological processes of these production processes (coupled or not at a methanation stage). For these two sectors, our research and development and innovation efforts focus on the technologies of production of these gases (contribution to demonstration partnerships) and on the in-depth knowledge of gas dies to ensure their safe injection and delivery into transport and distribution networks. Studies around the sector, such as life cycle analysis and the enhancement of co-products, also contribute to the development of these sectors.

Two issues for RICE: the implementation of a new normative framework and its application to hydrogen research

The work of the Chair meets two main challenges for RICE. First of all, the mechanical characterization of materials via mini-tests is a research subject for which no normative framework exists: if the experimental research protocol is validated and successful, the project aims to draft a recommendation or pre-standard initially concerning the implementation of the approach developed, or even in the long term the accreditation of this type of method with industrial, technical, scientific and regulatory interlocutors

To this end, several seminars and communication actions will be planned throughout the project in order to get the whole industrial community to adhere to this new sampling method, which is under investigation at the time of writing (see photo of a sampling device opposite).

Photo of a sampling device

Furthermore, once the protocol has been validated, the methodology will be applied and used to feed the joint RICE / DT materials database, as well as the studies currently being carried out by RICE to identify the impact of hydrogen on the mechanical properties of steel.

Methodology for characterizing a sampling device
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