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Stability of the Lithium “Waterfall” First Wall Protection Concept for Inertial Confinement Fusion Reactors

P. D. Esser, D. D. Paul, S. I. Abdel-Khalik

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 1 / Number 2 / April 1981 / Pages 285-294


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Uncertainties regarding the feasibility of using an annular “waterfall” of liquid lithium to protect the first wall in inertial confinement fusion reactor cavities have prompted a theoretical investigation of annular jet stability. Infinitesimal perturbation techniques are applied to an idealized model of the jet with disturbances acting upon either or both of the free surfaces. Dispersion relations are derived that predict the range of disturbance frequencies leading to instability, as well as the perturbation growth rates and jet breakup length. The results are extended to turbulent annular jets and are evaluated for the lithium waterfall design. It is concluded that inherent instabilities due to turbulent fluctuations will not cause the jet to break up over distances comparable to the height of the reactor cavity.

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