To improve fundamental knowledge on materials ageing, state of the art experimental facilities are necessary. Have a look on some experimental works performed in MAI members’ facilities.


experimentalThe Microstructural Laboratory allows for metallographic analysis and observation down to the atomic scale which are necessary to study ageing mechanisms. The MAI has the latest generation of scanning electron microscopes (SEM, ESEM) and a dual-beam nanolab, providing two or three dimensional images of damaged areas down to the nanoscopic scale. In collaboration with universities within its Scientific Network, the MAI has also access to tomographic atom probe analysis.

The ultrahigh resolution TITAN microscope is the flagship technology of the microstructural laboratory. With a resolution of 70 pm, below the atomic scale, it is currently the most powerful transmission electron microscope in the world. Its outstanding performance is due – among other factors – to its specific placement and environment, which fully isolates it from vibrations and electromagnetic fields.

Chemistry and Corrosion

The Chemistry and Corrosion Laboratories provide experimental equipment which contribute to the fundamental understanding of chemically induced ageing mechanisms and therefore to safety, availability, radioprotection, and environmental impacts. There are several experimental loops to study corrosion under primary and secondary circuit conditions as well as many commonly used chemical analysis apparatus (e.g. ICP-AES, ICP-MS, CPL, etc.) and around 60 autoclaves.


Laboratoires du département MMC (Matériaux et Mécanique des Composants) de EDF Lab Les Renardières. Laboratoire FACTOR 2, de fatigu corrosion. Essais de vieillissement des matériaux par fatigue mécanique en contraintes réalistes du circuit primaire.

The Mechanical Laboratories provide experimental tools and analysis to study component and material integrity, mechanical degradation, fatigue and creep. Specific constitutive laws of materials are established to feed numerical models to simulate micro-mechanical behaviour at the crystaline scale. The laboratory contributes significantly to component lifetime assessments.



The challenges related to the digital twin are more of an “organizational” nature: Find your common tools and organization, manage the heterogeneity of practices and habits of your teams : learning takes time, an advice: promote technical homogeneity and open formats, an obligation: impose interoperability.

VERCORS, a project bringing together civil engineers and researchers:

The mock-up seems representative, its ageing is well controlled and monitored.

VERCORS project is open :

Benchmarks on modelling (EDF SEPTEN), French & European research projects (MACENA, ENDE, COST action TU 1404 in civil engineering labs)


Energy loop is the study of Steam Generator tubes fouling phenomenon. Challenges are : performance : understand fouling mecanisms to save SG thermal performances and predict their evolutions; Availability/safety : optimize maintenance operations (sludge lancing, chemical cleanings, SG replacement,..)

Main objectives are :

1. Industrial : identify ways to reduce fouling in order to optimize operation and management of the secondary circuit.

2. Modeling : determine inlet date to improve and validate fouling prediction models.

Long term creep testing capability at EDF Energy Mechanical Test Facility

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Fracture toughness testing capability at EDF Energy Mechanical Test Facility

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Pre-placement in concrete mockups

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Concrete Placement

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A state-of-the-art atom probe installed in radiation control area (CAMECA LEAP5000XR)