Radiation Heat Transfer and Vapor Shielding in a Two-Dimensional Model of an Electrothermal Plasma Source

Micah Esmond, Leigh Winfrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Electrothermal (ET) plasma discharges are emerging as valuable mechanisms for pellet injection in magnetic confinement fusion reactors. They have been shown to be capable of achieving the required pellet velocities and pellet launch frequencies required for edge localized mode control. Another advantage of ET plasma discharges is their ability to simulate fusion disruption events by depositing large heat fluxes on exposed materials. A deeper understanding of the heat transfer processes occurring in ET plasma discharges will aid in this particular application. ET plasma discharges involve the passage of high currents (order of tens of kA) along the axis of a narrow, cylindrical channel. As the current passes through the channel, radiant heat is transferred from the plasma core to the capillary wall. Ablated particles eventually fill the plasma channel and the partially ionized plasma is ejected. It is well known that the ablated material separating the plasma core from the ablating surface can act as a vapor shield and limit the radiation heat flux reaching the ablating surface. In this work, the results from a two-dimensional simulation model for ET plasma discharges are presented. The simulation of the plasma in a two-dimensional domain combined with the diffusion approximation for radiation heat transfer is shown to successfully simulate the effects of the vapor shield layer that develops inside these devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-651
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fusion Energy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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