The unique instrument for testing material samples under real operating conditions
New frontiers for the research on materials
Real Life Tester is the unique test bench designed to investigate the properties of simple or complex materials operating in critical environments simultaneously characterized by:
Exposure to multiple atmospheres High pressure High temperature High current loads
DERIVED FROM SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH Real Life Tester has been designed and realized by Ergo Design in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Chemistry of the University of Genoa and the Institute of Chemistry for Condensed Substance and Energy Technology ICMATE of the of CNR (Consiglio Nazionale per le Ricerche).
USED IN EUROPEAN RESEARCH PROJECTS In this video, made at the Department of Industrial Chemistry of the University of Genoa, Prof. Paolo Piccardo describes Real Life Tester, starting from the reasons of its birth related to the study of a European project on solid oxide fuel cells SOFC, until the remarkable results that his laboratory has been able to obtain.
Real Life Tester has been used in different European research projects in the field of fuel cells. More information and scientific papers are available in the documentation section.
Real Time Tester applies simultaneously to a material sample all forces present under operating conditions
Carry out test cycles with maximum temperatures ranging from 900 to 1,050°C depending on the type of thermal equipment chosen.
It allows to apply to the sample 2 different gases (plus 1 inert) with maximum pressures from 5 to 10 bar depending on the chosen configuration.
it applies direct or alternating current with frequencies up to 1 MHz and with maximum current from 0.5 to 1 A/cm2 depending on the chosen configuration.
It allows all forces to be subjected simultaneously to the material sample for continuous test cycles lasting more than 10,000+ h.
What it measures
The evolution of material properties over time
Real Time Tester measures the variation of the electrochemical properties of the material under operating conditions
The 5-pole measurement of the material resistance over time allows to monitor and analyse the behaviour of the sample on each face.
Real Time Data
You don't need to wait months to get results. While the test is in progress you can analyze the real time data and view the graphs that draw the evolution.
The workstation is equipped with powerful software tools that allows you to program tests, analyze and process the data collected.
Industry 4.0 Ready
Real-time measurement and saving of collected data in a local network allows easy connection to logics of production automation.
THE MATERIAL SAMPLE Real Life Tester allows you to analyze and stress circular samples of material with diameter 25 mm and thickness up to 5 mm. However, it is possible to customize the sample size and machine configuration to meet specific customer requirements.
In this simplified reproduction you can see in the centre the sample in contact with the electrodes in noble metal, the two gas chambers fixed directly on the rings applied to the sample and the external containment chamber.
Detail of a new material sample during the insertion process inside the gas chambers of Real Life Tester.
EXAMPLES OF APPLICATION A non-exhaustive list of use cases: SOFC and SOEC fuel cells Metals and coatings Ceramics and glass Metal-ceramic interface SOFC and SOEC stacking simulation Heat exchanger components simulation Simulation of hot exhaust gas components Simulation of vacuum conditions
EXAMPLES OF ANALYSIS Chemical and physical resistance under operating conditions Monitoring of microstructural variations Performance Calculation and Life Time Cycle Dry and steam oxidation rate Wear-dependent performance variation Suitability, reactivity and stability of coatings
Detail of a sample of material extracted from Real Life Tester, visibly deteriorated after a test cycle.
REDUCE THE TIME-TO-MARKET Before Real Life Tester it was necessary to make the prototype of a new product to test it in the laboratory under operating conditions, entailing high research and development costs. Today it is sufficient to submit a small sample of material to all forces simultaneously and analyze the results, obtaining in a few weeks what previously took years.
Note: The following research laboratories are equipped with Real Life Tester.
UNIVERSITY OF GENOVA Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry
Since 2016 the laboratory of metallurgy and materials (LMM), coordinated by Prof. Paolo Piccardo, has been using Real Life Tester to carry out research on metals. Over the years, the laboratory and Real Life Tester have been used both in important European research projects and in research commissioned by leading world companies, including NIPPON STEEL (Japan), SUNFIRE GMBH (Germany) and ARINOX SPA (Italy).
CNR - ICMATE Institute of Condensed Substance Chemistry and Energy Technology
Since 2014, ICMATE department of CNR has been equipped with Real Life Tester to conduct research on metals and materials. Real Life Tester was born in its first version in the context of a CNR research project.
Note: The following european research projects have been conducted using Real Life Tester.
AD ASTRA (2019) Accelerated Stress Tests and Lifetime Prediction for Solid Oxide Cells
Partner Companies: SOLIDPOWER SPA (Italy), SUNFIRE GMBH (Germany). Partner Research Institutions : ENEA (Agenzia Nazionale per le Nuove Tecnologie, l'Energia e lo Sviluppo Economico Sostenibile, Italy), UNIGE (Università di Genova, Italy), EIFER (European Institute for Energy Research, Germany), CEA (Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives,France), EPFL (École Politechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland), DTU (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Denmark), UNISA (Università di Salerno, Italy).
ENDURANCE (2017) Degradation Mechanisms in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Systems
Partner Companies: SOFCPOWER SPA (Italy), SCHOTT AG (Germany), HTCERAMIX SA (Spain), MARION TECHNOLOGIE (France). Partner Research Institutions: UNIGE (Università di Genova, Italy), DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Germany), IREC (Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya, Spain), CNRS-BX (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France), EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland), IEES (Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems, Bulgary), CEA (De la recherche à l'industrie, France), UNIPI (Università di Pisa, Italy).
CNR (2014) Materiali elettroceramici per l’energetica e l’elettronica
Partner Companies: SOFCPOWER SPA (Italy), FERRANIA SOLIS SPA (Italy). Partner Research Institutions: CNR (Consiglio Nazionale per le Ricerche, Italy), UNIGE (Università di Genova, Italy), UNIMI (Università di Milano, Italy), UNIPV (Università di Pavia, Italy), UNIPV (Università di Palermo, Italy), UAIC (University of Iasi, Romania), DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Germany), IEES (Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems, Bulgary).
Fuel Cells:Analysis of AISI441, AISI444 and AISI430 steels, specific alloys and ceramic layers used in the construction of SOFC fuel cells. Italiano | English
Automotive:Analysis of phenomena that reduce the life cycle of endothermic engine exhaust systems. Italiano | English
Industry:Corrosion and oxidation analysis of alloys used in exhaust and heat exchangers of a waste to energy plant. Italiano | English
Note: Studies in the following scientific publications have been conducted using Real Life Tester.
Shaping of a dual membrane SOFC and first electrochemical tests in a dedicated 3- chamber set-up. September 15, 2015. [10.1149/06801.1969ecst] [hal-01199467] David Masson, Francesco Perrozzi, Paolo Piccardo, Massimo Viviani, Claire Pilot, Zdravko Stoynov, Daria Vladikova, Anthony Chesnaud, Alain Thorel (Real Life Tester mentioned on pages 2,4,6). English
Parametrical coordinates and microsamples simulating a real SOFC stack. February 17, 2017. Paolo Piccardo, Roberto Spotorno (Real Life Tester mentioned on page 1). English
Studio e caratterizzazione degli acciai ferritici come candidati per applicazioni in pile a combustibile a ossido solido. July 2019. Valeria Bongiorno, Paolo Piccardo, Roberto Spotorno, Martina Fossati, Roberto Lo Savio (Metallurgia Italiana, article on pages 41-43, Real Life Tester mentioned on page 43). Italiano