Beryllium, a hard, silvery metal long used in X-ray machines and spacecraft, is finding a new role in the quest to bring the power that drives the sun and stars to Earth. Beryllium is one of the two main materials used for the wall in ITER, a multinational fusion facility under construction in France to demonstrate the practicality of fusion power. Now, physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and General Atomics have concluded that injecting tiny beryllium pellets into ITER could help stabilize the plasma that fuels fusion reactions.
Experiments and computer simulations found that the injected granules help create conditions in the plasma that could trigger small eruptions called edge-localized modes (ELMs). If triggered frequently enough, the tiny ELMs prevent giant eruptions that could halt fusion reactions and damage the ITER facility.
Scientists around the world are seeking to replicate fusion on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity. The process involves plasma, a very hot soup of free-floating electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions. The merging of the nuclei releases a tremendous amount of energy.
In the present experiments, the researchers injected granules of carbon, lithium, and boron carbide — light metals that share several properties of beryllium — into the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that General Atomics operates for the DOE in San Diego. “These light metals are materials commonly used inside DIII-D and share several properties with beryllium,” said PPPL physicist Robert Lunsford, lead author of the paper that reports the results in Nuclear Materials and Energy. Because the internal structure of the three metals is similar to that of beryllium, the scientists infer that all of these elements will affect ITER plasma in similar ways. The physicists also used magnetic fields to make the DIII-D plasma resemble the plasma as it is predicted to occur in ITER.
These experiments were the first of their kind. “This is the first attempt to try to figure out how these impurity pellets would penetrate into ITER and whether you would make enough of a change in temperature, density, and pressure to trigger an ELM,” said Rajesh Maingi, head of plasma-edge research at PPPL and a co-author of the paper. “And it does look in fact like this granule injection technique with these elements would be helpful.”
If so, the injection could lower the risk of large ELMs in ITER. “The amount of energy being driven into the ITER first walls by spontaneously occurring ELMs is enough to cause severe damage to the walls,” Lunsford said. “If nothing were done, you would have an unacceptably short component lifetime, possibly requiring the replacement of parts every couple of months.”
Lunsford also used a program he wrote himself that showed that injecting beryllium granules measuring 1.5 millimeters in diameter, about the thickness of a toothpick, would penetrate into the edge of the ITER plasma in a way that could trigger small ELMs. At that size, enough of the surface of the granule would evaporate, or ablate, to allow the beryllium to penetrate to locations in the plasma where ELMs can most effectively be triggered.
The next step will be to calculate whether density changes caused by the impurity pellets in ITER would indeed trigger an ELM as the experiments and simulations indicate. This research is currently underway in collaboration with international experts at ITER.
The researchers envision the injection of beryllium granules as just one of many tools, including using external magnets and injecting deuterium pellets, to manage the plasma in doughnut-shaped tokamak facilities like ITER. The scientists hope to conduct similar experiments on the Joint European Torus (JET) in the United Kingdom, currently the world’s largest tokamak, to confirm the results of their calculations. Says Lunsford, “We think that it’s going to take everyone working together with a bunch of different techniques to really get the ELM problem under control.”
The Latest on: Fusion power
via Google News
The Latest on: Fusion power
- Ansys Launches HFSS Mesh Fusion, Redefines Product Development by Enabling Design of Entire Systemson January 21, 2021 at 4:57 am
Ansys is empowering engineers to mesh and solve bigger designs than ever thought possible with the launch of Ansys HFSS Mesh Fusion Slashing development costs and spurring the creation of ...
- A power-packed start to 2021! Become a videography expert with the amazing trendsetter OPPO Reno5 Pro 5Gon January 21, 2021 at 3:58 am
As one of the leading smartphone brands globally, OPPO has consistently put the focus on technological innovation and path breaking products to ...
- Barco launches Nio Fusion 12MP for Future-ready Diagnostic Imaging in Indiaon January 21, 2021 at 1:34 am
Barco has released a new 12MP healthcare diagnostic display system for picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and breast imaging. The Nio Fusion 12M ...
- UK and Japan to collaborate on new technologies for decommissioning and fusionon January 21, 2021 at 12:17 am
The UK and Japan have signed a £12 million ($16.3m) research and technology deployment collaboration to help automate nuclear decommissioning and aspects of fusion energy production. The collaboration ...
- MLW Fusion Results: Top Champion attacked; Daivari makes in-ring debuton January 20, 2021 at 8:49 pm
Zenshi has been seen on MLW Fusion, but he has not won a match since The Restart ... Salina de la Renta avoided Alicia Atout's question, and Salina said that she wants the gold and the power. Salina ...
- SureCall Releases Fusion Professional Signal Booster for Home Officeson January 20, 2021 at 8:29 am
SureCall's new cellular signal boosters are designed to improve the 4G and 5G connectivity in large homes and for remote office work.
- Girls hockey: Fusion burn Raiders while Stars keep shiningon January 20, 2021 at 8:02 am
The Western Wisconsin Stars are currently ranked No. 2 in the state and Hudson is No. 4 while the St. Croix Valley Fusion are ranked sixth.
- A realistic model of the ITER tokamak magnetic fusion deviceon January 19, 2021 at 6:42 am
Tokamaks, devices that use magnetic fields to confine plasma into torus-shaped chamber, could play a crucial role in the development of highly performing nuclear fusion reactors. The ITER tokamak, ...
- Sondrel Selects Synopsys Fusion Design and Verification Platforms to Displace Legacy Design Toolson January 19, 2021 at 6:05 am
PRNewswire/ -- Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) today announced Sondrel has adopted the Synopsys Fusion Design™ and Verification Continuum® platforms ...
- The POWER Interview: ‘Dispatchable Power Through Commercial Fusion’on January 18, 2021 at 12:04 pm
The goal of economic power generation from fusion has been elusive, but that hasn't deterred researchers from exploring ways to develop the technology in ...
via Bing News