Organization profile

Introduction / mission

The exhaust of a fusion reactor must endure the harshest conditions of any man made object. Our mission is develop liquid metal heat shields that are up to this task.

Highlighted phrase

Improved performance of liquid metal heat shields will not only enable DEMO, but will also allow the design of more practical and more economical future fusion power plants

Organisational profile

The next generation fusion reactor, DEMO, will deliver electricity to the grid. Construction for the European DEMO will be started halfway this century, by the European organization EUROfusion. This reactor will likely require liquid metal heat shields to ensure sufficient lifetime, as well as sufficient robustness to make operation practical. Improved performance of liquid metal heat shields, however, will not only enable DEMO. It will also allow the design of smaller, more economical, and more practical future fusion power plants. Our group collaborates closely with EUROfusion to achieve this task, as well as the Dutch Institute For Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER), and the international fusion community.

The heat shields in a divertor are exposed to intense plasma fluxes (~10 MW/m2, comparable to spacecraft re-entry), and to millisecond transients during plasma disruptions (~80 GW/m2). On top of that the divertor lives a nuclear environment, under constant neutron bombardment. Liquid metal heat shields are particularly suited for this challenge. Our group investigates multiple facets of this technology. Firstly, we experimentally and numerically investigate the power handling capacity. Which involves evaporative and radiative processes of the liquid metal in the plasma. This is done in particular on the Magnum-PSI device located at DIFFER, which replicates the conditions on the reactor wall. Secondly, we develop new designs, and investigate their performance. For example, we developed a 3D-printed tungsten substrate to hold the liquid metal, which allowed for optimizing its performance. The primary focus of the group, for the near future, is the development and testing of realistic shield concept for the European DEMO reactor. 


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