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Inauguration of a HIC enclosure to support the development of the metallurgical industry

As part of France 2030, the CALHIPSO project aims to promote the development of the metallurgical industry in France by installing two Hot Isostatic Compression (HIC) chambers: the first on our site, inaugurated on 8 February, and the second in Le Creusot, Bourgogne. In addition to our expertise in the HIC process and our skills in design, modelling and microstructural and mechanical characterisation, the project benefits from the know-how of each partner, including CNRS, FRAMATOME, CEMEF and the University of Bourgogne. This alliance promises to lead to significant advances in the field of metallurgy.

Published on 8 February 2024

CALHIPSO is a scientific and technical project submitted to the ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche - French National Research Agency) as part of the France 2030 investment plan and the EQUIPEX+ call for tenders, which finances excellent research facilities. Its aim is to promote the development of the metallurgical industries in France, with the emergence of a French network of HIC technology players and high value-added jobs in strategic segments such as aeronautics, automotive, energy (particularly nuclear) and defence.

The CALHIPSO project is based on the installation of two HIC chambers to complement existing resources, such as those dedicated to surface preparation of parts for assembly, encapsulation and powder filling. With this in mind, the inauguration of the R&D-oriented EQUIPEX enclosure on our premises took place on 8 February.

Installation of an R&D-oriented enclosure at CEA-Liten and an industrialisation-oriented enclosure at the University of Bourgogne

The chamber installed at CEA-Liten replaces a historical chamber dating from 1983. Now capable of reaching 1400°C and 2000 bar, this new equipment is mainly intended for metallic materials.What sets it apart?

  • ​Its volume and size have been significantly increased: its maximum load is approaching 175 kg and its volume has been increased to 30 L ;

  • a quenching module for very rapid cooling of parts has been added;

  • the oven can now be controlled and monitored remotely;

  • the temperature can be adjusted more precisely;

  • the gas used can be recycled.

This enclosure will enable the development of innovative, material-saving manufacturing technologies for the energy sector, in particular nuclear components: boilerwork, pumps, exchangers, etc. It will also involve developing complex parts for fusion (ITER, DEMO) in the form of heterogeneous and homogeneous assemblies, and incorporating cooling circuits. Potential applications include new energies, transport (aeronautics) and industry (moulds and tools).

The second CALHIPSO chamber is currently being installed in Le Creusot (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region). Also with a larger capacity than its predecessor, it will be dedicated to the study of scale-up and the manufacture of scale-model prototypes.This new facility is closer to industrial capacity. 

Several partners contribute their expertise to the project

  • ​We are contributing our 40 years' experience of the HIC process, as well as our skills in design, modelling and the microstructural and mechanical characterisation of parts, to the CALHIPSO project. These are the same skills that enable us to innovate and manufacture complex components by assembling massive parts or by compacting metal powders.
  • CNRS is working on the physical models and materials data. 
  • FRAMATOME, the project's industrial partner, is working on the development of means of filling containers with powders and the nuclear applications of the technology.
  • CEMEF is an expert in the development of tools for simulating the evolution of a material's microstructure under complex loading and in changing environments.
  • As coordinator of the project, the University of Bourgogne (UB) is proposing a global approach to experimentation, modelling and simulation aimed at defining tailor-made HIC solutions to meet the needs of industry.

HIC is a technique that improves the density of materials by eliminating cavities or "missing material" under the effect of pressure and temperature, thereby improving the mechanical properties of the parts. It is carried out in large enclosures, under high neutral gas pressure, and over a wide range of temperatures.​

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