Low-Cost Fabrication of Inertial Fusion Energy Capsule Supports
72259S03-I The proposed target for heavy-ion-driven inertial fusion energy (IFE) consists of a spherical capsule suspended in the middle of a cylindrical hohlraum. The capsule must be accurately located (¿ microns) by two ultra-thin membranes which must have high strength, high radiation resistance, good cryogenic properties, and low cost. While polyimide can meet all of these stringent requirements, no methods currently exist for producing the complex shape required for this application. This project will develop a method for mass-producing low-cost, high quality IFE target supports based on experience with the manufacture of thin polyimide membranes for astronomy filters and hohlraum windows. Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of the fabrication process to produce high quality capsule supports that meet all of the requirements. Several different approaches will be explored to create these shaped polyimide components, including plastic deformation of the polyimide film while it is in the ¿soft-baked¿ condition, and vapor deposition of the polyimide directly onto a mandrel with the required shape. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: Commercialization of the capsule support fabrication process should forward the utilization of fusion reactors for producing electric power at an economical price. The technology should allow the capsule supports to be mass-produced at a cost less than $0.30 each. In addition, shaped polyimide components may have applicability as insulation in superconducting magnets or satellite components.
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