This paper provides an overview of experimental and numerical studies conducted at Georgia Tech to assess the fluid dynamics aspects of liquid protection schemes for fusion energy reactors. The problems described here include: (1) Dynamics of slab jets for thick liquid protection, including the effect of nozzle design, flow conditioning, and boundary layer cutting on jet surface smoothness; (2) Primary turbulent breakup of turbulent liquid sheets and forced thin liquid films, and quantification of the associated hydrodynamic source term; (3) Dynamics of forced films on downward-facing flat and curved surfaces, including film detachment and flow around beam ports; (4) Free-surface topology and drop detachment from downward-facing porous wetted walls; and (5) Thermocapillary effects and associated design constraints for liquid-film-protected divertors and first walls.

The experimental data and validated numerical models developed in these studies allow reactor designers to identify design windows for successful operation of liquid-protected first walls and plasma facing components in inertial and magnetic confinement systems.