Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 47 / Number 1 / January 2005 / Pages 46-55
Of the building blocks of an inertial fusion energy (IFE) plant, target fabrication remains a significant credibility issue. For this reason, an extensive parametric study has been conducted on mass production of glow discharge polymer (GDP) shells in a vertical fluidized bed. Trans-2-butene was used as a reactant gas with hydrogen as a diluting and etching agent. Coating rates in the range of 1 to 2 m/h were demonstrated on batches of 30 shells where National Ignition Facility-quality surfaces were obtained for 3- to 5-m-thick coatings. Thick coatings up to 325 m were also demonstrated that are visually transparent, without void and stress fracture. A phenomenological understanding of the GDP growth mechanisms to guide future experiments was further established. Specifically, gas-phase precipitation and high-impact collisions were identified as the main surface-roughening mechanisms. The former produces dense cauliflower-like surface patterns that can be eliminated by adjusting the gas flow rates and the flow ratio. The latter produces isolated domelike surface defects that can be reduced by introducing concerted motion between the shells. By converting from a vertical to a horizontal configuration, fully transparent coatings were obtained on 350 shells. Collisions in a fluidized bed have been identified as the limiting factor in meeting IFE specifications, and a related-rotary kiln technique is recommended for scale-up.