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LIFE Chamber Chemical Equilibrium Simulations with Additive Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen

Description: In order to enable continuous operation of a Laser Inertial confinement Fusion Energy (LIFE) engine, the material (fill-gas and debris) in the fusion chamber must be carefully managed. The chamber chemical equilibrium compositions for post-shot mixtures are evaluated to determine what compounds will be formed at temperatures 300-5000K. It is desired to know if carbon and or lead will deposit on the walls of the chamber, and if so: at what temperature, and what elements can be added to prevent this from happening. The simulation was conducted using the chemical equilibrium solver Cantera with a Matlab front-end. Solutions were obtained by running equilibrations at constant temperature and constant specific volume over the specified range of temperatures. It was found that if nothing is done, carbon will deposit on the walls once it cools to below 2138K, and lead below 838K. Three solutions to capture the carbon were found: adding pure oxygen, hydrogen/nitrogen combo, and adding pure nitrogen. The best of these was the addition of oxygen which would readily form CO at around 4000K. To determine the temperature at which carbon would deposit on the walls, temperature solutions to evaporation rate equations needed to be found. To determine how much carbon or any species was in the chamber at a given time, chamber flushing equations needed to be developed. Major concerns are deposition of carbon and/or oxygen on the tungsten walls forming tungsten oxides or tungsten carbide which could cause embrittlement and cause failure of the first wall. Further research is needed.
Date: September 3, 2009
Creator: DeMuth, J A & Simon, A J
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department