Carbon Foam Core Mercury Spallation Target Windows with Protective Gas Film Support
During development of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), high-energy proton pulses were found to create high-intensity pressure pulses in the liquid mercury. These pulses damaged the mercury container because of cavitation damage erosion, which must be stopped or significantly reduced to enable the SNS to work, as intended, at full power. In previous work with ORNL, Ultramet successfully developed a foam core structure that supports a protective gas film to mitigate cavitation damage. The proton beam of the SNS deposits an immense amount of heat into this structure by interaction with the iron nuclei. Instead of managing this heat with high-load cooling approaches, this effort will develop the same structure made largely of carbon due to its much lower interaction with the proton beam. Utilization of carbon in target construction will allow for greater beam power and reduce the risk of target degradation due to thermal effects and structural damage due to proton interaction.Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed technology will help meet the goal of running the SNS at full capacity and beyond, which will allow substantial progress in materials science, medicine, and industrial technology research.
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