Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 44 / Number 4 / December 2003 / Pages 791-802
Pulsed power experiments for basic physics investigations as well as inertial confinement fusion designs have developed Z-pinch technologies that produce terawatt level power using multiwire arrays. The energy released from such pulsed power tests results in fragmentation and vaporization of structures at the central wire array as well as shock wave propagation to the chamber boundaries. Practical design and safety considerations require that tracking of this shock front and the associated gas-debris field be done for a variety of experimental configurations to predict the arrival time of hazardous or radioactive debris at fast closure valve locations. A novel computational model has been developed to handle gas expansion into vacuum using a computer model (TEXAS) operating on a Eulerian mesh. Upon expansion of a high-pressure gas into a region of hard vacuum where free molecular transport dominates, the transport model switches between a traditional Eulerian continuum mechanics model and a free molecular transport model across the interface between the two regions. The interface location then propagates along the mesh as the gas expands. This new quasi-one-dimensional model (TEXAS-NCV) has been implemented and tested for two benchmark cases. Such a model can be useful in the design of inertial fusion systems.