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Development of Polyimide Ablators for NIF: Analysis of Defects on Shells, a Novel Smoothing Technique and Upilex Coatings

C. Chad Roberts, Pascal J. Orthion, April E. Hassel, Bryan K. Parrish, Steven R. Buckley, Evelyn Fearon, Stephan A. Letts, Robert C. Cook

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 38 / Number 1 / July 2000 / Pages 94-107

Technical Paper / Thirteenth Target Fabrication Specialists’ Meeting /

Over the last three years, LLNL has developed polyimide vapor deposition technology suitable for mandrel overcoating and fabrication of polyimide capsules. Agitated mandrels were overcoated with 4,4’-oxydianiline and pyromellitic dianhydride, and the PMDA/ODA coating was thermally converted to polyimide by heating to 300°C. Shells from this process did not meet smoothness requirements specified by the target designs for the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The defects and the possible mechanism(s) for defect generation were analyzed, and it was determined that surface roughness was the result of shell-pan interaction(s). A post-processing, shell smoothing technique was also developed which simultaneously levitates the shell while exposing it to solvent vapor. Efforts to form Upilex™, a high strength polyimide, using vapor deposition will also be discussed.

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