Due to a lack of prototypical experimental data, little is known about the off-normal behavior of recently proposed divertor jet cooling concepts. This article describes a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study on two jet array designs to investigate their susceptibility to parallel flow instabilities induced by non-uniform heating and large increases in the helium outlet temperature. The study compared a single 25-jet helium-cooled modular divertor (HEMJ) thimble and a micro-jet array with 116 jets. Both have pure tungsten armor and a total mass flow rate of 10 g/s at a 600 °C inlet temperature. We investigated flow perturbations caused by a 30 MW/m2 off-normal heat flux applied over a 25 mm2 area in addition to the nominal 5 MW/m2 applied over a 75 mm2 portion of the face. The micro-jet array exhibited lower temperatures and a more uniform surface temperature distribution than the HEMJ thimble. We also investigated the response of a manifolded nine-finger HEMJ assembly using the nominal heat flux and a 274 mm2 heated area.

For the 30 MW/m2 case, the micro-jet array absorbed 750 W in the helium with a maximum armor surface temperature of 1280 °C and a fluid/solid interface temperature of 801 °C. The HEMJ absorbed 750 W with a maximum armor surface temperature of 1411 °C and a fluid/solid interface temperature of 844 °C. For comparison, both the single HEMJ finger and the micro-jet array used 5-mm-thick tungsten armor. The ratio of maximum to average temperature and variations in the local heat transfer coefficient were lower for the micro-jet array compared to the HEMJ device.

Although high heat flux testing is required to validate the results obtained in these simulations, the results provide important guidance in jet design and manifolding to increase heat removal while providing more even temperature distribution and minimizing non-uniformity in the gas flow and thermal stresses at the armor joint.