Computational Evaluation of Alternative Concepts for Nuclear Fusion

Roman Samulyak, Institutional PI, SBU / BNL

within ARPA-E funded project
Spherically Imploding Plasma Liners as a Standoff Magneto-Inertial-Fusion Driver

Lead PI / Institution: Scott Hsu, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Other Collaborators: J. Cassibry (UAH), P. Stoltz (Tech-X), M. Gilmore (UNM), F.D. Witherspoon (HyperV Technologies)

In the Plasma-Jet driven Magneto-Inertial Fusion (PJMIF) concept, a plasma liner, formed by the merger of a large number of radial, highly supersonic plasma jets, implodes on a magnetized plasma target and compresses it to conditions of the fusion ignition. By avoiding major difficulties associated with both the traditional laser driven inertial confinement fusion and solid liner driven MTF, the plasma-liner driven magneto-inertial fusion potentially provides a low-cost and fast R&D path towards the demonstration of practical fusion energy.

SBU / BNL team is a member of multi-institutional collaboration led by Los Alamos National Laboratory (PLX-Alpha Collaboration). The BNL / SBU team works on modeling and simulation of the propagation and merger of plasma jets, formation and implosion of liners, and compression of plasma targets using two main computational tools: the novel Lagrangian particle method that greatly improves the accuracy of known particle-based methods such as SPH and the front tracking hydro / MHD code FronTier. Our simulations quantified the influence of oblique shock waves on the liner formation and the role of atomic processes in improving the liner quality and target compression rates. We have also investigated processes leading to target instabilities, deconfinement time, and verified theoretical scaling laws.


Isosurfaces of density (left) pressure (midle) and ionization level (right) in imploding liner formed by the merger of 30 argon plasma jets at PLX conditions.


Density (left) and pressure (right) on a 10 cm radius spherical slice of imploding liner formed by the merger of 30 argon plasma jets at PLX conditions. Plots illustrate oblique shock waves and nonuniformity of the liner during the implosion.


Target interface with pressure data (bar) during compression by plasma liner formed by the the merger of 60 PLX argon plasma jets. Simulations was performed with FronTier using interface tracking. MHD forces in the target were ignored thus results overestimate target instabilities. MHD forces will be modeled in future work.



Recent publications:

1.    H. Kim, L. Zhang, R. Samulyak, P. Parks, On the stability of plasma targets for plasma jet induced magnetoinertial fusion, 2015. Submitted

2.    H. Kim, L. Zhang, R. Samulyak, P. Parks, On the structure of plasma liners for plasma jet induced magnetoinertial fusion, Phys. Plasmas 20, 022704 (2013).

3.    H. Kim, R. Samulyak, L. Zhang, P. Parks, Influence of atomic processes on the implosion of plasma liners, Physics of Plasmas, 19:082711, 2012.

4.    R. Samulyak, P. Parks, L. Wu, Spherically symmetric simulation of plasma liner driven magnetoinertial fusion, Physics of Plasmas, 17 (2010), 092702.