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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 3.72M | Year: 2014

The conditions in which materials are required to operate are becoming ever more challenging. Operating temperatures and pressures are increasing in all areas of manufacture, energy generation, transport and environmental clean-up. Often the high temperatures are combined with severe chemical environments and exposure to high energy and, in the nuclear industry, to ionising radiation. The production and processing of next-generation materials capable of operating in these conditions will be non-trivial, especially at the scale required in many of these applications. In some cases, totally new compositions, processing and joining strategies will have to be developed. The need for long-term reliability in many components means that defects introduced during processing will need to be kept to an absolute minimum or defect-tolerant systems developed, e.g. via fibre reinforcement. Modelling techniques that link different length and time scales to define the materials chemistry, microstructure and processing strategy are key to speeding up the development of these next-generation materials. Further, they will not function in isolation but as part of a system. It is the behaviour of the latter that is crucial, so that interactions between different materials, the joining processes, the behaviour of the different parts under extreme conditions and how they can be made to work together, must be understood. Our vision is to develop the required understanding of how the processing, microstructures and properties of materials systems operating in extreme environments interact to the point where materials with the required performance can be designed and then manufactured. Aligned with the Materials Genome Initiative in the USA, we will integrate hierarchical and predictive modelling capability in fields where experiments are extremely difficult and expensive. The team have significant experience of working in this area. Composites based on exotic materials such as zirconium diborides and silicon carbide have been developed for use as leading edges for hypersonic vehicles over a 3 year, DSTL funded collaboration between the 3 universities associated with this proposal. World-leading achievements include densifying them in <10 mins using a relatively new technique known as spark plasma sintering (SPS); measuring their thermal and mechanical properties at up to 2000oC; assessing their oxidation performance at extremely high heat fluxes and producing fibre-reinforced systems that can withstand exceptionally high heating rates, e.g. 1000oC s-1, and temperatures of nearly 3000oC for several minutes. The research planned for this Programme Grant is designed to both spin off this knowledge into materials processing for nuclear fusion and fission, aerospace and other applications where radiation, oxidation and erosion resistance at very high temperatures are essential and to gain a deep understanding of the processing-microstructure-property relations of these materials and how they interact with each other by undertaking one of the most thorough assessments ever, allowing new and revolutionary compositions, microstructures and composite systems to be designed, manufactured and tested. A wide range of potential crystal chemistries will be considered to enable identification of operational mechanisms across a range of materials systems and to achieve paradigm changing developments. The Programme Grant would enable us to put in place the expertise required to produce a chain of knowledge from prediction and synthesis through to processing, characterisation and application that will enable the UK to be world leading in materials for harsh environments.


Kuteev B.V.,RAS Research Center Kurchatov Institute | Azizov E.A.,RAS Research Center Kurchatov Institute | Bykov A.S.,Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University | Dnestrovsky A.Y.,RAS Research Center Kurchatov Institute | And 20 more authors.
Nuclear Fusion | Year: 2011

This paper considers a fast track to non-energy applications of nuclear fusion that is associated with the 'fusion for neutrons' (F4N) paradigm. Being a useful product accompanying energy, fusion neutrons are more valuable than the energy released in DT reactions and they are urgently needed for research purposes and to develop and validate modern technologies. In the near future neutron yield in fusion devices will become significantly larger than that of fission and accelerator sources. This paper describes a compact tokamak fusion neutron source based on a small spherical tokamak (FNS-ST) with a MW range of DT fusion power and considers the key physics issues of this device. The major and minor radii are ∼0.5 and ∼0.3 m with magnetic field ∼1.5 T, heating power less than 15 MW and plasma current 1-2 MA. The production rate of DT neutrons of (3-10) × 1017 n s-1 and their flux at the first wall of 0.2 MW m-2 ensure that the device is capable of fusion-fission demonstration experiments. The problems of major concern are discharge initiation, current drive, plasma - fast ion beam stability and high first wall and divertor loads. The conceptual design provides solutions to these problems and suggests the feasibility of the FNS-ST. © 2011 IAEA, Vienna.


Sykes A.,Tokamak Solutions | Gryaznevich M.P.,Tokamak Solutions | Gryaznevich M.P.,Imperial College London | Kingham D.,Tokamak Solutions | And 7 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science | Year: 2014

Stambaugh developed the Peng-Hicks concept of a fusion reactor based on a solid copper center-post spherical tokamak (ST). Using the promising results from the START experiment, they produced a vision for a path to fusion power. This path had two elements such as the ability to produce high fusion gain from an ST and of equal importance, the ability to demonstrate this in a small (and therefore relatively low cost) pilot plant device. In this paper, we review various attempts to pursue this vision, and try to elucidate the reason why success has not yet been achieved. However, we show that the advent of high temperature superconductors may overcome some of the problems, and we suggest a revised version of the small, low entry cost route to fusion power. © 2014 IEEE.


Sergeev V.Y.,Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University | Kuteev B.V.,RAS Research Center Kurchatov Institute | Bykov A.S.,Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University | Petrov V.S.,RAS Research Center Kurchatov Institute | And 10 more authors.
Plasma Physics Reports | Year: 2012

A concept of the divertor and the technology for organizing the edge plasma in a fusion neutron source based on a spherical tokamak (FNS-ST) are described. The experimental data on the characteristics of the peripheral plasma in modern tokamaks are extrapolated to the FNS-ST conditions with the help of semi-analytical models. The effects depending on the magnetic configuration and on the geometry and materials of the divertor and the first-wall elements are considered. Possible designs of the FNS-ST divertor and the first wall are described. Using an original model, it is shown that the maximum density of the heat flux at the divertor plates in a double-null magnetic configuration does not exceed 5-6 MW/m 2, which complies with modern engineering capabilities. Methods for further improvement of the FNS-ST divertor concept are analyzed. © 2012 Pleiades Publishing, Ltd.


Sykes A.,Tokamak Solutions | Gryaznevich M.P.,Tokamak Solutions | Voss G.,Tokamak Solutions | Kingham D.,Tokamak Solutions | Kuteev B.,RAS Research Center Kurchatov Institute
IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science | Year: 2012

For 60 years, fusion research has been focused on fusion for energy as the ultimate carbon-free solution to the world's energy problems. It is proving a worthy but difficult task. However, it is relatively easy to produce high-energy fusion neutrons. The many potential applications of a 14-MeV neutron source are outlined, and a range of existing designs for such a source, based on a D-T fuelled spherical tokamak (ST), are reviewed. It is shown that the problems of high build and operating costs can be eased by a small device super-compact fusion neutron source (SCFNS) of major radius ∼0.5 m, which although operating at modest plasma performance can provide megawatt-level neutron output. This breakthrough is achieved via the effectiveness of beam-plasma fusion, which becomes dominant in these conditions. Such a device would provide a resolution of the uncertainties in fusion STs (such as start-up, ramp-up, and steady-state operation), be an effective neutron source for research, and be an ideal entry vehicle for development of more powerful neutron sources in the new objective of fusion for neutrons. © 2012 IEEE.


Gryaznevich J.M.P.,Tokamak Solutions | Sykes A.,Tokamak Solutions | Kingham D.,Tokamak Solutions | McNamara B.,Tokamak Solutions | And 4 more authors.
Fusion Science and Technology | Year: 2012

The new approach in advancing the use of fusion, "Fusion for Neutrons" (F4N), is proposed. The application of a small or medium size Spherical Tokamak (ST) as a powerful steady-state fusion neutron source (FNS) is discussed. An overview of various conceptual designs of such neutron sources is given and they are compared with a recently proposed Super Compact Fusion Neutron Source (SCFNS). It is shown that SCFNS with major radius as low as 0.5 is feasible and could produce several MW of neutrons in a steady-state regime.


Gryaznevich M.P.,Tokamak Solutions
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2012

The use of fusion devices as powerful neutron sources has been discussed for decades. Whereas the successful route to a commercial fusion power reactor demands steady state stable operation combined with the high efficiency required to make electricity production economic, the alternative approach to advancing the use of fusion is free of many of complications connected with the requirements for economic power generation and uses the already achieved knowledge of Fusion physics and developed Fusion technologies. "Fusion for Neutrons" (F4N), has now been re-visited, inspired by recent progress achieved on comparably compact fusion devices, based on the Spherical Tokamak (ST) concept. Freed from the requirement to produce much more electricity than used to drive it, a fusion neutron source could be efficiently used for many commercial applications, and also to support the goal of producing energy by nuclear power. The possibility to use a small or medium size ST as a powerful or intense steady-state fusion neutron source (FNS) is discussed in this paper in comparison with the use of traditional high aspect ratio tokamaks. An overview of various conceptual designs of compact fusion neutron sources based on the ST concept is given and they are compared with a recently proposed Super Compact Fusion Neutron Source (SCFNS), with major radius as low as 0.5 metres but still able to produce several MW of neutrons in a steady-state regime. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Patent
Tokamak Solutions | Date: 2012-08-24

An efficient compact nuclear fusion reactor for use as a neutron source or energy source is described. The reactor comprises a toroidal plasma chamber and a plasma confinement system arranged to generate a magnetic field for confining a plasma in the chamber. The plasma confinement system is configured so that a major radius of the confined plasma is 1.5 m or less. The reactor is constructed using high temperature superconducting toroidal magnets, which may be operated at low temperature (77K or lower) to provide enhanced performance. The toroidal magnetic field can be increased to 5 T or more giving significant increases in fusion output, so that neutron output is very efficient and the reactor can produce a net output of energy.


Patent
Tokamak Solutions | Date: 2011-05-26

A compact nuclear fusion reactor for use as a neutron source is described. The reactor comprises a toroidal plasma chamber (34) and a plasma confinement system (31) arranged to generate a magnetic field for confining a plasma in the plasma chamber (34). The plasma confinement system (31) is configured so that a major radius of the confined plasma is 0.75 m or less. The reactor is configure to operate with a plasma current of 2 MA or less. The magnetic field includes a toroidal component of 5 T or less. Despite these low values, the reactor can generate a neutron output of 1 MW or more.


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