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Title: Heat transfer for fusion power plant divertors
Author: Nicholas, Jack Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 7184
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Exhausting the thermal power from a fusion tokamak is a critical engineering challenge. The life of components designed for these conditions has a strong influence on the availability of the machine. For a fusion power plant this dependence becomes increasingly important, as it will influence the cost of electricity. The most extreme thermal loading for a fusion power plant will occur in the divertor region, where components will be expected to survive heat fluxes in excess of 10 MW/m2 over a number of years. This research focussed on the development of a heat sink module for operation under such conditions, drawing on advanced cooling strategies from the aerospace industry. A reference concept was developed using conjugate Computational Fluid Dynamics. The results were experimentally validated by matching Reynolds numbers on a scaled model. Heat transfer data was captured using a transient thermochromic liquid crystal technique. The results showed excellent agreement with the corresponding numerical simulations. To facilitate comparison against other divertor heat sink proposals, a nondimensional figure of merit for cooling performance was developed. When plotted against a non-dimensional mass flow rate, the reference heat sink was shown to have superior cooling performance to all other divertor proposals to date. Results from Finite Element Analysis were used in conjunction with the ITER structural design criteria to life the heat sink. The sensitivity of life to both boundary conditions, and local geometric features, were explored. The reference design was shown to be capable of exceeding the life requirements for heat fluxes in excess of 15 MW/m2. A number of heat sinks, based on the reference design, were fabricated. These underwent non-destructive testing, before experimentation in a high-heat flux facility developed by the author. The heat transfer performance of the tested modules was found to exceed that predicted by numerical modelling, which was concluded to be caused by the fabrication processes used.
Supervisor: Ireland, Peter ; Povey, Thomas Sponsor: EPSRC ; Rolls-Royce plc
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Heat--Transmission ; Fluid Dynamics ; Thermodynamics ; Nuclear fusion ; heat sink ; cooling ; divertor ; high-heat flux