Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment High Heat Flux Microwave Absorber Design, Manufacture, and Articles Test

A. Hussain, V. Rao, N. Branch, T. Gray, A. Kubik, A. Aaron, K. Logan, S. Stewart, A. Lumsdaine, G. S. Showers, R. L. Romesberg, D. E. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is in the final design phase. MPEX will be capable of exposing neutron-irradiated materials to plasmas for the study of plasma-material interaction. This facility will provide information about the complex effects of plasmas on materials and contribute to examining new materials that can withstand high heat fluxes and high ion fluences for future fusion devices. MPEX plasma is heated by 70-GHz or 105-GHz electron Bernstein wave/electron cyclotron heating (ECH), and the high-frequency microwaves are prone to scattering microwave power, which can have detrimental effects, especially on diagnostic components. A large portion of the injected ECH power is expected to be absorbed by plasma, but the remainder requires that microwave absorbers be placed immediately upstream and downstream of the ECH launcher to minimize stray microwaves leaving the ECH region. These microwaves can inadvertently heat components that cannot be shielded or otherwise protected. The microwave absorber design is based on an array of pyramid-shaped ceramic tiles brazed to a water-cooled explosion-bonded heat sink and a stainless steel plate to produce one tile module. Computational fluid dynamics and structural analyses were performed to optimize and validate the design. Multiple test coupons were produced to validate the process for brazing the two different tile materials to the Glidcop AL-15 baseplate. The articles were tested to evaluate the reliability and thermal performance through exposure to an electron beam with a heat flux of up to 1.5 MW/m2. Nondestructive testing was performed before and after testing to identify voids or separations that may have been introduced by the high heat flux. This paper discusses the details of high heat flux microwave absorber design, manufacturing details and associated challenges, and test results, demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1124-1148
Number of pages25
JournalFusion Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering

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