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Fusion Science and Technology
A day in the life of the nuclear community
The November issue of Nuclear News is focused on the individuals who make up our nuclear community.
We invited a small group of those individuals to tell us about their day-to-day work in some of the many occupations and applications of nuclear science and technology, and they responded generously. They were ready to tell us about the part they play, together with colleagues and team members, in supplying clean energy, advancing technology, protecting safety and health, and exploring fundamental science.
In these pages, we see a community that can celebrate both those workdays that record progress moving at a steady pace and the exceptional days when a goal is reached, a briefing is delivered, a contract goes through, a discovery is made, or an unforeseen challenge is overcome.
The Nuclear News staff hopes that you enjoy meeting these members of our community—or maybe get reacquainted with friends—through their words and photos.
J. D. Coburn, T. E. Gebhart, C. M. Parish, E. Unterberg, J. Canik, M. W. Barsoum, M. Bourham
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 75 | Number 7 | October 2019 | Pages 621-635
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/15361055.2019.1623570
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Erosion characteristics of tungsten-alternative plasma-facing materials (PFMs) were tested under high heat flux conditions in the electrothermal plasma source facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The PFMs of interest are high-purity β-3C chemical vapor deposition silicon carbide (SiC) and the MAX phases Ti3SiC2 and Ti2AlC [MAX = chemical formula Mn+1AXn, where M is an early transition metal (such as Ti or Ta), A is an A-group element (such as Si or Al), and X is carbon or nitrogen]. An erosion analysis method was developed using a combination of focused ion beam microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, carving micro-trench geometries into polished sample surfaces. Samples of SiC, Ti3SiC2, and Ti2AlC were exposed to the electrothermal plasma source alongside tungsten and monocrystalline silicon. Samples were exposed to a Lexan polycarbonate (C16H14O3) electrothermal plasma stream in a He environment, at a specified impact angle, with infrared camera diagnostics. Edge localized mode–relevant heat fluxes of 0.9 to 1 GW/m2 over 1-ms discharges were generated on the target surfaces. Tungsten samples exhibited pronounced melt-layer formation and deformation, with measured molten pits 2 to 10 μm in diameter and melt-layer depths of up to 7 μm deep. Surface erosion rates for Ti3SiC2 and Ti2AlC ranged from 80 to 775 μm/s and 85 to 470 μm/s, respectively. Both MAX phases exhibited extreme surface fracture and material ejection, with damage depths past 4 μm for Ti2AlC and 11 μm for Ti3SiC2. SiC displayed the best performance, in one case surviving 15 consecutive electrothermal plasma exposures with an average erosion rate of about 29 μm/s and no surface fracturing. SiC erosion rates ranged from 23 to 128 μm/s.