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Plasma Facing Components


The plasma facing components (PFCs) in energy producing fusion devices will experience 5-15 MW/m2 surface heat flux under normal operation (steadystate)
and off-normal energy deposition up to 1 MJ/m2 within 0.1 to 1.0 ms. Refractory solid surfaces represent one type of PFC option. These PFCs are envisioned to have a refractory metal heat sink, cooled by helium gas, and a plasma facing surface, consisting of an engineered refractory metal surface or a thin coating of refractory material that minimizes thermal stresses. The materials being considered include tungsten and molybdenum alloys. Grant applications are sought to develop: (1) innovative refractory alloys having good thermal conductivity (similar to Mo, at a minimum), resistance to recrystallization and grain growth, good mechanical properties (e.g., strength and ductility), and resistance to thermal fatigue; (2) coatings or specialized low-Z surface treatments of refractory alloy armor for improved plasma performance; (3) innovative refractory-metal heat sink designs for enhanced helium gas cooling; (4) efficient fabrication methods for engineered surfaces that mitigate the stresses due to high heat flux; and (5) joining methods, for attaching the plasma facing material to the heat sink, that are reliable, efficient to manufacture, and capable of high heat transfer – these new joining techniques may be applicable to either advanced, helium-cooled, refractory heat sinks or present-day, water-cooled, copperalloy heat sinks.

In addition, grant applications are sought to develop new or improved in situ diagnostic techniques to monitor the health and performance of operating PFCs and plasma edge conditions. A carefully selected combination of microelectromechanical (MEMS)-like, robust diagnostics could create an instrumented PFC that monitors important characteristics (such as the temperature and stress gradients) within the PFC or provides real-time information on erosion/deposition rates or tritium uptake during operation. Measurements of current, B-field, plasma edge temperature and density, spectral emissions, and heat flux also would be of interest. Such diagnostics must be an integral part of the PFC, be self-powered, operate at elevated temperatures in the presence of high magnetic fields and neutron fluence, be immune to RF noise, provide for wireless data transmission with high signal to noise ratio, and be compatible with high performance plasma operation.

Another PFC option is to use a flowing liquid metal surface as a plasma facing component, an approach which will require the production and control of thin, fast flowing, renewable films of liquid lithium, gallium, or tin for particle control at divertors. Grant applications are sought to develop: (1) techniques for the production, control, and removal of flowing (velocity 0.01 to 10 m/s) liquid metal films (0.5-5 mm thick) over a temperature controlled substrate; (2) advances in materials that are wet by liquid metals at temperatures near the respective metal melting point and that are conducive to the production of uniform well-adhered films; (3) techniques for active control of liquid metal flow and stabilization in the presence of plasma instabilities (time and space varying magnetic field); and (4) computational tools that model the flow and magnetohydrodynamic response of flowing liquid metals.

Grant applications also are sought to develop and demonstrate innovative computational techniques directly related to modeling surface material properties and/or plasma surface/interactions, for the purpose designing and assessing PFC surface materials. Finally grant applications are sought to develop cost-effective experimental techniques that integrate multiple approaches, listed in the paragraphs above, in order to allow advanced plasma-materialinteraction
testing and simulation.

Questions – contact Peter Pappano,

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