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Home / Publications / Journals / Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 47 / Number 3

Plasma/Liquid-Metal Interactions During Tokamak Operation

A. Hassanein, J. P. Allain, Z. Insepov, I. Konkashbaev

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 47 / Number 3 / April 2005 / Pages 686-697

Technical Paper / Fusion Energy - Divertor and Plasma-Facing Components

One of the critical technological challenges of future tokamak fusion devices is the ability for plasma-facing components to handle both normal and abnormal plasma/surface interaction events that compromise their lifetime and operation of the machine. Under normal operation plasma/surface interactions that are important include: sputtering, particle implantation and recycling, He pumping and ELM (edge localized modes)-induced erosion. In abnormal or off-normal operation: disruptions and vertical displacement events (VDEs) are important. To extend PFC lifetime under these conditions, liquid-metals have been considered as candidate PFCs (Plasma-Facing Components), including: liquid lithium, tin-lithium, gallium and tin.

Liquid lithium has been measured to have nonlinear increase of physical sputtering with rise in temperature. Such increase can be a result of exposure to ELM-level particle fluxes. The significant increase in particle flux to the divertor and nearby PFCs can enhance sputtering erosion by an order of magnitude or more. In addition from the standpoint of hydrogen recycling and helium pumping liquid lithium appears to be a good candidate plasma-facing material (PFM). Advanced designs of first wall and divertor systems propose the application of liquid-metals as an alternate PFC to contend with high-heat flux constraints of large-scale tokamak devices. Additional issues include PFC operation under disruptions and long temporal instabilities such as VDEs. A comprehensive two-fluid model is developed to integrate core and SOL (scrape-off layer) parameters during ELMs with PFC surface evolution using the HEIGHTS package. Special emphasis is made on the application of lithium as a candidate plasma-facing liquid-metal.

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