General Atomics has been granted a patent for a method of joining and sealing ceramic structures in high-temperature and corrosive environments. The process involves using sealing materials and heat to create a solid ceramic seal. This innovation is crucial for nuclear reactor applications and other demanding environments. GlobalData’s report on General Atomics gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on General Atomics, Welding robots was a key innovation area identified from patents. General Atomics's grant share as of January 2024 was 59%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Method of joining and sealing ceramic structures in nuclear reactors

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: General Atomics

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11881322B2) discloses a method for joining and sealing a ceramic structure and an end plug using a unique process. The method involves forming a joint between the ceramic structure and the end plug using a first sealing material containing a preceramic polymer and inclusions, followed by locally heating the material to create a solid ceramic. This solid ceramic is then crystallized to form a crystalline matrix matching the ceramic structure and end plug. The end plug, designed with a hole passing through it, is sealed by placing a second sealing material in the hole, heating it, and applying pressure with a pin to seal the end plug effectively.

Furthermore, the method includes various additional steps such as heat treating the joined ceramic structure and end plug at high temperatures, using a silicon carbide pin for sealing, and filling the ceramic structure with a desired gas composition through the hole. Strengthening the joint is achieved by forming a gas impermeable sealing layer on the crystalline matrix, enhancing the overall integrity of the structure. The process also allows for the use of different gas compositions like helium or argon, providing versatility in applications. Overall, this patented method offers a novel approach to joining and sealing ceramic structures, particularly useful in high-temperature and gas-containing environments, showcasing innovation in material science and engineering.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.