Microengineered Tungsten Firstwall Structure for Inertial Fusion Energy Reactors
73078S03-I The potential economic, environmental, and strategic benefits associated with the development of inertial fusion energy (IFE) are numerous. However, the application of fusion technology for cost-competitive electric energy generation cannot be realized without advanced firstwall materials that are capable of withstanding the intense pulsed X-rays, energetic ions, and neutrons produced by the periodic explosion of a fusion pellet at the reactor center. This project will engineer tungsten firstwall surface materials that can withstand surface layer temperature increases of up to 2800Â¿C, resulting in substantially improved thermal shock and ablation resistance. Chemical vapor deposition/infiltration will be used to microengineer advanced refractory fusion chamber material structures for this application that cannot be fabricated by conventional processing techniques. Phase I will fabricate and demonstrate a highly innovative microengineered, open-cell, tungsten foam firstwall, which, based on its textured, porous ligamental structure, offers the potential to better distribute incident radiation, reduce ablation, and reduce thermally induced stress when compared to monolithic tungsten. Thermomechanical durability and dynamic transient thermal stress characteristics will be evaluated through modeling, and ion beam testing will be conducted. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: Fusion, with its low generation of radioactive waste, is ideal for large-scale energy generation. However, its practical application is dependent on development of advanced materials, such as those being investigated in this project.
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