EPEE Team │ Elaboration – Properties – Energy – Environment


Manager: Andreas ZERR





The EPEE Team’s research themes gradually range from the application of solid and fluid high pressures (HP) to the development of renewable energy sources (RES):

knowing that high pressures are referred to as solid or fluid depending on the nature of the pressure-transmitting medium which ensures the hydrostaticity of the applied stresses.

Solid HP │ Elaboration and Characterisation under Pressure of Advanced Materials and Compounds

This research theme is settled in the field of chemistry and physics of condensed matter with emphasis on synthesis, characterisation and measurement of properties of novel materials (compounds, phases, polymers and organic-inorganic hybrids) having a great potential of application in the rapidly developing demanding fields of modern industry and energetics. This activity has already led to very interesting results but promises further stimulating development in the future. It can be subdivided in five branches:

  • basic understanding and search for systematics in the influence of high pressures on chemical activity of elements on example of binary and ternary nitrides as well as of the related oxynitrides of metals, MxNy, (M1-u,Au)xNy and (M1-u,Au)x(N1-zOz)y. Chemical and structural characterisation of the novel high-pressure compounds or phases obtained in the course of the search;
  • measurement of properties of the discovered compounds and phases (binary nitrides, related oxynitrides, and their solid solutions) and demonstration of their suitability for industrial application not only as hard and stiff but mostly as functional materials, in particular as materials for energy applications (e.g. LEDs, photoelectrochemical splitting of water, photovoltaics, radiation resistant materials for fusion reactors);
  • in-situ examination of properties and phase transitions of simple solids at high pressures using a diamond-anvil cell (DAC);
  • influence of compression on polymerisation of organic monomers (e.g. HEMA) with the aim of fabrication of biocompatible organic-inorganic hybrids. Such products could be of interest for medical and biotechnological applications;
  • contribution to the methods of characterisation and 3D visualisation of inhomogeneities/texture in samples compressed to ultrahigh pressures in a diamond anvil cell, with sub-µm resolution using pulsed lasers. These methods can also be used at atmospheric pressure and high- or cryogenic temperatures.

The related high-pressure techniques are:

Fluid HP │ Pressure-assisted Transformation and Characterisation of Ductile or Brittle Materials

This activity is backed up by specific resources : differential hydrostatic extrusion, hydrostatically confined uniaxial tensile/compressive testing, and cold isostatic pressing (CIP) up to 20kbar (2GPa). Technological breakthroughs have already been challengingly achieved in terms of grain orientation for high-temperature superconducting ceramics and of full densification for Bottom-Up-processed nanomaterials. The activity is now developed in close collaboration with MECAMETA‘s 2MP Team, to which we refer the reader, and with Thiot Ingénierie which runs the first private shock-physics laboratory in Europe.

HP-assisted forming of HTSCs and nanomaterials [pdf in French]

Fluid HP & RES │ Gas – Material Interactions

This research theme is based on a set of skills and resources (including a bench unique in Europe for measuring the adsorption capacity at 1-700bar and 77-300K) which have enabled us to provide answers from TRL 1, for hydrogen mass storage capacities prospectively evaluated by numerical simulation with LPT Orsay, to TRL 6, for comparative hydrogen embrittlement tests under service conditions on gas pipeline sections (intact, damaged or pre-notched), as developed with ENGIE Lab CRIGEN.

Hydrogen-embrittlement bench, co-owned by CNRS and ENGIE, designed for testing NPS 36, 24, and 12 pipeline sections

RES │ Valorisation of Biomass

This research theme concerns the valorisation of lignocellulosic biomass into biofuels or high-added-value molecules. It is based on recent acquisitions: a rapid-pyrolysis bench with in situ diagnosis of incondensables and a gas chromatograph coupled to a Py-MDGCMS mass spectrometer (FrontierLab/Shimadzu) presenting a set of functionalities that is unique in France. This bench has been implemented as part of a project on the extraction of olive branches for the local industry.

A development of this research theme has led to the launch of a start-up which offers a circular model of local and decarbonised recovery applied to the recycling of plastic waste in an innovative and eco-responsible way, as illustrated below.

The Wastemy start-up (video with English subtitles)

The EPEE Team is particularly active within the High-Pressure Technology Network of the CNRS Interdisciplinarity Mission. Furthermore, its fluid-HP resources, which are unique in Europe, have been entrusted to the regional CARAMÉL platform (officially opened in October 2017, as shown below) in addition to 4kbar 1450°C HIP and Gleeble 3500 thermomechanical simulator.

French SPS 2017 national workshop (video in French)

Most significant publications

Elaboration and Characterisation under Pressure of Advanced Materials and Compounds

Basic understanding and search for systematics in the influence of high pressures

Zerr A, Miehe G, Riedel R. Nature Mater. 2 (2003) 185-9

Zerr A, et al. Adv. Funct. Mater. 19 (2009) 2282-8


Measurement of properties of the discovered compounds and phases

Bourguille J. et al. Europhys. Lett. 111 (2015) 18006


In situ determination of properties and phase transitions

Xu F, et al. J. Appl. Phys.130 (2021) 035903 (PPANAM/MINOS joint publication)


Influence of compression on polymerisation of organic monomers

Evlyukhin E, et al. Nanoscale 10 (2018) 22293-301


Contribution to the methods of characterisation and 3D visualisation of inhomogeneities/texture

Nikitin SM, et al. Sci. Rep. 20 (2015) 9352

Full Densification of Bottom-Up-processed Nanomaterials

Ultimate-densification step by Soft Extrusion (low differential and high backpressure)

Champion Y, et al. Fabrication of bulk nanostructured materials from metallic nanopowders : structure and mechanical behaviour. Scripta Mater. 44 (2001) 1609-13

Champion Y, et al. Near-perfect elastoplasticity in pure nanocrystalline copper. Science 300 (2003) 310-1

Bulk Texturing of High-Temperature Superconducting Ceramics

Effect of hydrostatically confined uniaxial compression on grain orientation

Nhien S, Langlois P. Quantitative analysis of grain alignment in ceramic Bi-2223 superconductor powder by pressure-assisted compression. Physica C 281 (1997) 129-34

Grynszpan RI, et al. Texture effect on vortex‐state TF‐μ⁺SR in Bi‐2223 high‐Tc materials. Hyperfine Interact. 105 (1997) 95-100

Proactive Monitoring of Porosity

Chilev Ch, et al. A new procedure for porous material characterization. International Journal of Science, Technology and Society 5 (2017) 131-40

Beyaz S, et al. Nanoscale carbon material porosity effect on gas adsorption. Int. J. Hydrogen Energ. 35 (2010) 217-24

Lucas-Girot A, et al. A synthetic aragonite-based bioceramic : influence of process parameters on porosity and compressive strength. Biomaterials 23 (2002) 503-10




Storage and Distribution of Hydrogen

Sakintuna B, Lamari F, Hirscher M. Int. J. Hydrogen Energ. 32 (2007) 1121-40

Lamari F, Malbrunot P, Tartaglia GP. Int. J. Hydrogen Energ. 27 (2002) 193-202

Valorisation of Biomass

Dicko M, et al. Lignin degradation and its use in signaling development by the coprophilous ascomycete Podospora anserina. J. Fungi 6 (2020) 278

Stephan Ch, et al. Liquid-liquid equilibria of water + solutes (acetic acid/acetol/furfural/guaiacol/methanol/phenol/propanal) + solvents (isopropyl acetate/toluene) ternary systems for pyrolysis oil fractionation. Fluid Phase Equilibr. 468 (2018) 49-57

Dicko M, Guilmont M, Lamari F. Adsorption and biomass : current interconnections and future challenges. Curr. Sustainable Renewable Energy Rep. 5 (2018) 247-56


Cohen M, et al. Biomolecules from olive pruning waste in Sierra Mágina. Engaging the energy transition by multi-actor and multidisciplinary analyses. J. Environ. Manage. 216 (2018) 204-13

Bafoil F, Dicko M, Guyet R, Lamari F. Réflexions sur un référentiel commun entre sciences sociales et sciences de l’ingénieur en matière d’acceptation sociale des ouvrages éoliens. In : Bafoil F, ed. L’énergie éolienne en Europe. Conflits, démocratie, acceptabilité sociale. Presses de Sciences Po (2016) 253-83

Technological Publications (in French)

Lamari F, Langlois P, Malbrunot P. Combustible hydrogène – Production / Hydrogen fuel – Production. Les Techniques de l’Ingénieur (2023) BE8565

Lamari F, Langlois P, Malbrunot P. Combustible hydrogène – Utilisation / Hydrogen fuel – Uses. Les Techniques de l’Ingénieur (2023) BE8566

Langlois P. Assemblages frettés / Interference Fittings. Les Techniques de l’Ingénieur (2022) BM5500

Langlois P. Techniques de mesure sous haute pression / Measurement Techniques under High Pressure. Les Techniques de l’Ingénieur (2021) R730

Boissinot P, Langlois P, Pádua A. Matériaux et joints d’étanchéité pour les hautes pressions [3rd ed.] MRCT-CNRS, Meudon (2011)

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