Innovative Surfaces for Controlled Flow of Molten Lithium

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-08ER85217
Agency Tracking Number: N/A
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Ultramet
12173 Montague Street, Pacoima, CA, 91331
DUNS: 052405867
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Arthur Fortini
 Dr.
 (818) 899-0236
 art.fortini@ultramet.com
Business Contact
 Craig Ward
Title: Mr.
Phone: (818) 899-0236
Email: craig.ward@ultramet.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
The economic, environmental, and strategic benefits associated with the development of fusion energy are numerous, but they cannot be realized until new technology is developed to allow operation under high heat flux conditions. Bathing the wall of a fusion reactor plasma-facing component in a liquid metal is a viable approach for accommodating high heat fluxes and for removing hydrogen isotopes. This project will develop an enabling technology for the controlled flow of molten lithium. In this approach, microtextured tungsten and rhenium coatings, consisting of hundreds of thousands of dendrites per square millimeter, will act as a high-efficiency wick to stabilize liquid metal flow, despite the existence of strong magnetohydrodynamic forces. Phase I demonstrated the ability of the textured tungsten and rhenium coatings to wick molten lithium. The wetted coatings retained the molten metal in the face of strong jxB forces. In Phase II, additional wetting experiments, using a variety of techniques, will be conducted. Specimens will be characterized, fabricated, and ultimately tested in the Lithium Tokamak eXperiment (LTX) reactor at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new coatings can be applied to smooth surfaces and to the interior of porous bodies, such as refractory metal foams, for improved retention of the molten metal. Once demonstrated in the LTX reactor, the proposed technology should be applied in the near term to larger fusion reactors such as NSTX and ITER. As additional fusion reactors are brought on line, the textured coating technology will be incorporated into them as well.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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