In the forthcoming ecological era, new European environmental regulations (horizon 2020) will impose the design of new “green” materials with lower energetic production costs. In this context, the Glass Physics group at the LCVN (both experimental and simulation) has successfully applied in 2008 to the ANR-call “energetic efficiency et reduction of greenhouse gases in industrial systems“, within a partnership including three university laboratories and one major glass-maker, Saint-Gobain. The objective of the scientific program is twice. We will first concentrate on refining the formulation of the float glass (“window glass”) in order to improve the blackbody effect in the melt, and thus to reduce the energy consumption of the kilns. The second objective concerns the elaboration of insulating glass fibers with enhanced insulation properties and chemical compositions compatible with the future environmental regulations. Special attention will be paid on boron, an element at the origin of the good thermal properties of the fibers, but which in the same time, can be harmful for the health. For this purpose, the project will benefit the innovative Brillouin and hyper-Raman spectrometers to probe the structure of the materials synthetized at Saint-Gobain.
Improvement of the chemical durability of glasses for the confinement of nuclear wastes is another research area with environmental perspectives where the Glass Physics group has been involved in the last years. This was done through a collaboration with the CEA-Marcoule which aimed to gain information on the origin of the corrosion and lixiviation processes in these materials (Post-Doc. H. Harker, 2006-2008). The results motivate us to perpetuate such collaboration in the future, including our expertise in stress corrosion at crack tip and numerical simulation of glasses.