Extreme Environmental Testing Facilities

National Laboratory: 
Ames Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Extreme Environment Testing

Facilities include the Severe Environmental Corrosion and Erosion Research Facility (SECERF) and the Supercritical Materials Research Facility (SMRF). Both facilities allow medium term exposures of multiple coupon-size samples (typically up to 500 h) at elevated temperatures in extreme environments. The SECERF is comprised of six individual rooms (or modules) for exposure testing, each with the ability to mix gases as desired. There is also thermogravimetric capability in one of the modules. SMRF consists of 2 high pressure autoclaves. One is a steam autoclave and the other is a supercritical CO2 autoclave that can also run with up to 25% water.

Capability Bounds: 

In SECERF, gas mixtures can consist of most combinations of N2, O2, CO, CO2, SO2, H2S, H2, CH4, HCl, and H2O at atmospheric pressure and with gas flows of up to 2 L/min.

  • Module 1: Tube furnace, up to 1600°C, the full suite of gases.
  • Module 2: TGA (TherMax 700), up to 1100°C, for use with N2, O2, CO2, CO, He, Air. 
  • Module 3: Tube furnace, up to 1200°C, the full suite of gases.
  • Module 4: Tube furnace, up to 1200°C, the full suite of gases.
  • Module 5a: Particulate Erosion rig with rotating specimens impacted by falling particulate, up to 1000°C, the full suite of gases, up to 3660 rpm, particulates include Silica (20-500 μm) at 0-60 g/hr, Alumina (20-500 μm) at 0-60 g/hr, and Mullite (20-500μm) at 0-60 g/hr.
  • Module 5b: Ash fusion determinator (Leco AF700), up to 1500°C, for use with Air, N2, CO2, CO, and O2.
  • Module 5c: Viscometer (Theta), up to 2000°C, for use with N2, CO2, and CO.
  • Model 6: 2 Tube furnaces, up to 1200°C, the full suite of gases.

The SMRF steam autoclave is dual-rated to 760°C/227 bar and 704°C/344 bar and has an internal volume of 1 L (2.5" ID). It is a flowing steam system, with water delivery rates of 1-12 g/min. Heat losses limit internal temperatures to about 30°C less than the rated autoclave temperatures.

The SMRF supercritical CO2 autoclave is rated to 800°C/277 bar and has an internal heated-zone volume of 0.8 L (2.25" ID). It can run with up to 25% water. It is a flow-through system, with CO2 delivery rates of 1-12 g/min.

Unique Aspects: 

The SECERF is unique in the ability to simultaneously conduct experiments in toxic/flammable gas mixtures. The SMRF is unique in the ability to characterize materials behavior in both supercritical water and CO2.


Facilities are available through collaborative funding proposals or contract.

Single Point of Contact: 

Gordon Holcomb, Materials Research Engineer, gordon.holcomb@netl.doe.gov, 541-967-5874

  1. G. R. Holcomb, E. N. Do_an, C. Carney, 'Oxidation of Alloys for Energy Applications in Supercritical CO2 and H2O,' Corrosion Science, 109 (2016): pp. 22-35. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.corsci.2016.03.018
  2. G. R. Holcomb, J. Tylczak, G. H. Meier, B. Lutz, K. Jung, N. Mu, N. M. Yanar, F. S. Pettit, J. Zhu, A. Wise, D. E. Laughlin, S. Sridhar, 'Fireside Corrosion in Oxy-fuel Combustion of Coal,' Oxidation of Metals, 80, 5(2013): pp. 599-610.
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