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2 Plasma fuelling and pellet injection

1.2

Plasma fuelling and pellet injection

In order to achieve higher plasma density, active fuelling is necessary to replenish the spent fuel in the plasma. Several possibilities for refuelling the plasma are gaspuffing, neutral beam injection (NBI) injection and pellet injection. Since the ionization of the gas molecules complete at the outer layer of the plasma, the fuelling efficiency is restricted to 20-30 % in case of the gas-puffing. Since core fuelling is necessary for the future fusion devices, like ITER, gas puffing is incapable of high density operation. Using the NBI, deep fuelling of the plasma is possible. However forbigger plasma size, the particle should be accelerated to very high energies and currents, which creates a technological challenge. Apart from the above two methods, frozen pellets made up of the fuelling gasses formed at the cryogenic temperature and injected with hundreds of m/s speed has been successfully used for plasma fuelling in various fusion machines . Major advantages of this method are: core fuelling of the the plasma with the help of deep penetrated injected fuel, power requirement is very less and technologically simpler in comparison to the NBI. With the pellet injection, enhancement of the plasma properties has been reported in many fusion devices.

1.3

Objective of this study

First requirement in pellet fuelling is successful delivery of a pellet into the plasma. Therefore, an efficient pellet injection system is necessary. Although, the kind of pellet injection system varies according to the requirement, the most common part is the pellet formation and acceleration system. A pellet inside a barrel is accelerated to higher speed by using a propellant of lighter gas. Proper design of the pellet injection barrel system is necessary in-order to control the pellet parameters.
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Chapter 2 Pellet fuelling technology


2.1 Introduction
Since then the pellet injection method is proposed in 1954, a lot of progress has been made on the front of pellet injector technology. At present all of the major experimental fusion devices in the world have been equipped with pellet injection system. Considering the effect of the pellet injection on the plasma parameters, pellet size and speed are the key parameters.

2.2 Pellet freezing techniques


A pellet is formed from the fuelling gas at proper pressure and temperature below its triple point. The triple point curve for Hydrogen is shown in Fig. 2.1. From the figure it can be infer that a pellet of H2 gas can be formed at a temperature below 13 K temperature. The properties of the various isotopes of the H2 is shown in table 1. From the table, it can be said that for all kinds of pellet, formation devices and the associated system requires cryogenically cooled systems.Commonly, there are two types of pellet freezing techniques: (1) Direct freezing (2) Extruder based technique.

2.2 Pellet freezing techniques the mass in the pellet acceleration barrel. Using this technique pellet injection can be performed with few Hz frequencies.

2.3 Pellet acceleration


Various techniques are used for the pellet acceleration. The most widely used pellet acceleration techniques are light gas gun and the centrifuge. Gas gun type injectors operate on a pneumatic principle in which compressed gas provides the driving force to the pellet. A simple analytical model is applied to analyse the pellet acceleration inside the barrel. Using this model, a detail design of a injector barrel system is described in the next chapter. In the centrifuge technique, a pellet is constrained to move in a grove on a high speed rotating disk, and the centrifugal force provides the necessary acceleration to the pellet.

3.3 Discussion It can be inferred from the Eqn. 3.13 that higher pellet speed can be achieved at relatively small as pressure. Using the Eqn. 3.15, the barrel length can be optimized for the desired range of pellet speed. This theory is known as the ideal gun theory (IGT) approximation for the pellet speed inside a barrel. The formulas derived here for the pellet speed is used to decide the pellet injector barrel dimension.

3.3 Discussion
Using the expressions 3.13 and 3.15 derived in previous section is used to calculate the variation of the pellet speed at different propellant gas pressure. Figure 3.2 shows the variation of the pellet (1.0 mm cylindrical) speed with propellant pressure for 3 different propellant gas, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Argon. Different figure represents the variation of the pellet speed for different barrel length of the pellet injection system. The dotted lines given in each figure represents the 75 % of the pellet speed obtained in the IGT approximation. It can be clearly observe that with increase in propellant gas pressure, the pellet velocity increases. As expected from the equation, pellet speed decreases with the increase in the propellant gas atomic mass. This is associated with the decrease in sound speed of the gas with the increase in atomic mass. Therefore, for higher injection speed of the pellet, Helium is used as the propellant gas. As illustrated in the figure, pellet velocity tends to saturate as the supply pressure increases. Considering the pellet strength at pellet formation temperature of 4 - 7 K, the pressure needed to dislocate a pellet from the freezing zone is calculated as 1.2 MPa. It can be observed from both the figure that, for this pressure, the muzzle velocity ( 75 % - dotted curve) of the pellet reaches 600 and 750 m/s, for the 13

3.3 Discussion barrel length of 0.1 m and 0.15 m, respectively. At the same pressure, using N or Ar as propellant gas lower pellet speed (within the required range) can be achieved. Since the freezing point of Nitrogen and Argon are 63 K and 83 K, respectively; there is a possibility that the propellant gas can be injected as an impurity into the plasma with the pellet at 4 - 7 K temperature.Therefore, the key aspect will be to check the dependence of the pellet speed on higher atomic mass propellants, and simultaneously, the % of propellant gas content with the injected pellet mass. If the operation with higher atomic mass propellant is not suitable, than, Helium gas has to be used with shorter barrel length. In addition to the requirement for the shorter barrel length, it is also necessary to use lower gas pressure ( < 1 MPa ). In this situation, since lower pressure cannot dislocate the pellet from the freezing zone, it is essential to warm of the freezing zone temperature by few degree K below the fuelling gas triple point temperature. For low speed pellet injection technology, punch mechanism based low speed pellet injector is also a reliable solution, where, a pellet can be operated within the speed range of 100-500 m/s flexibly.

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Bibliography
1. Introduction to Plasma Physics by Francis F.Chen 2. Internet

Project Report on Plasma Fuelling Techniques by

Pinky M.Sc Physics(Sem III) Roll.No. 51572


Hindu college Delhi University (Internal Assesement Plasma Physics 2012)

Acknowledgements
I express my sincere gratitude towards Professor M.P Srivastav who helped me in successful completing the project report titled Plasma Fuelling Techniques. Profound thanks to him for allowing me to carry out the project report and for her many useful information and guidelines while bringing out this project report.

Pinky M.Sc Physics (Sem III ) Roll. No. 51572

Contents
1 Introduction
1.1 Why nuclear fusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1.2 Plasma fuelling and pellet injection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.3 Objective of this study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

2 Pellet fuelling technology


2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.2 Pellet freezing techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.2.1 Direct Freezing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.2.2 Extrusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 2.3 Pellet acceleration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

3 Pellet speed and Barrel design


3.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 3.2 One-dimensional similarity flow and the pellet speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 3.3 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Bibliography

Certificate
This is to certify that Pinkystudent of M.Sc Physics has performed the project PLASMA FUELLING TECHNIQUES under my guidance and supervision within the allotted time upto my full satisfaction.

Dr. M.P Srivastav Professor, Delhi University