Experimental investigation of the thermal performance of gas-cooled divertor plate concepts
Hageman, Mitchell D.
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Magnetic confinement fusion has the potential to provide a nearly inexhaustible source of energy. Current fusion energy research projects involve conceptual "Tokamak" reactors, inside of which contaminants are "diverted" along magnetic field lines onto collection surfaces called divertor plates. Approximately 15% of the reactor's thermal power is focused on the divertor plates, creating a need for an effective cooling mechanism. Current extrapolations suggest that divertor plates will need to withstand heat fluxes of more than 10 MW/m2. The cooling mechanism will need to use a coolant compatible with the blanket system; currently helium, and use a minimal fraction of the reactor's available pumping power; ie: will need to experience minimal pressure drops. A leading cooling concept is the Helium Cooled Flat Plate Divertor (HCFP). This thesis experimentally examines four variations of the HCFP. The objectives are to: 1. Experimentally determine the thermal performance of the HCFP with a hexagonal pin-fin array in the gap between the impinging jet and the cooled surface over a range of flow rates and incident heat fluxes; 2. Experimentally measure the pressure drop associated with the hexagonal pin-fin array over a range of flow conditions; 3. Determine and compare the thermal performance of and pressure drop associated with the HCFP for two different slot widths, 0.5 mm and 2 mm over a range of flow rates and incident heat fluxes; 4. Compare the performance of the HCFP with a hexagonal pin-fin array with that of the HCFP with a metal-foam insert and the original HCFP; 5. Provide an experimental data set which can be used to validate numerical models of the HCFP design and its variants. 6. Analytically determine the maximum heat flux which the HCFP can be expected to withstand at theoretical operating conditions in the original and pin-fin array configurations.