Plasma-facing components (PFC's) made from solid materials may not be able to withstand the large heat and particle fluxes that will be produced within next-generation fusion reactors. To address the shortcomings of solid PFC's, a variety of liquid-metal (LM) PFC concepts have been proposed. Many of the suggested LM-PFC designs rely on electromagnetic restraint (Lorentz force) to keep free-surface, liquid-metal flows adhered to the interior surfaces of a fusion reactor. However, there is very little, if any, experimental data demonstrating that free-surface, LM-PFC's can actually be electromagnetically controlled. Therefore, in this study, electrical currents were injected into a free-surface liquid-metal that was flowing through a uniform magnetic field. The resultant Lorentz force generated within the liquid-metal affected the velocity and depth of the flow in a controllable manner that closely matched theoretical predictions. These results show the promise of electromagnetic control for LM-PFC's and suggest that electromagnetic control could be further developed to adjust liquid-metal nozzle output, prevent splashing within a tokamak, and alter heat transfer properties for a wide-range of liquid-metal systems.
In this paper, hydraulic jump control using electromagnetic force in a liquid metal flow is presented. The control methods used give insight into the hydraulic jump behavior in the presence of magnetic fields and electrical currents. Flowing liquid metals is a proposed solution to heat flux challenges posed in fusion reactors, specifically the tokamak. Unfortunately, thin, fast-flowing liquid metal divertor concepts for fusion reactors are susceptible to hydraulic jumps that drastically reduce the liquid metal flow speed, leading to potential problems such as excessive evaporation, unsteady power removal, and possible plasma disruption. Highly electrically conductive flows within the magnetic fields do not exhibit traditional hydraulic jump behavior. There is very little research investigating the use of externally injected electrical currents and magnetic fields to control liquid metal hydraulic jumps. By using externally injected electrical currents and a magnetic field, a Lorentz force (also referred to as j × B force) may be generated to control the liquid metal jump behavior. In this work, a free-surface liquid metal—GaInSn eutectic or “galinstan”—flow through an electrically insulating rectangular duct was investigated. It was shown that applying a Lorentz force has a repeatable and predictable impact on the hydraulic jump, which can be used for liquid metal control within next-generation fusion reactors.
Vekselman, V.; Khrabry, A.; Kaganovich, I.; Stratton, B.; Selinsky, R. S.; Raitses, Y.
Delineating the dominant processes responsible for nanomaterial synthesis in a plasma
environment requires measurements of the precursor species contributing to the growth of
nanostructures. We performed comprehensive measurements of spatial and temporal profiles of
carbon dimers in sub-atmospheric-pressure carbon arc by laser-induced fluorescence.
Measured spatial profiles of carbon dimers coincide with the growth region of carbon nanotubes (Fang et al
2016 Carbon 107 273-80) and vary depending on the arc operation mode, which is determined
by the discharge current and the ablation rate of the graphite anode. The carbon dimer density profile
exhibits large spatial and time variations due to motion of the arc core. A comparison of the
experimental data with the 2D simulation results of self-consistent arc modeling shows a good
agreement. The model predicts well the main processes determining spatial profiles of carbon
An electron beam is detected by a 1D floating potential probe array in a relatively high density (10e12 − 10e13 cm−3) and low temperature (∼ 5 eV) plasma of the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX). Clear perturbations in the floating potential profile by the electron beam are observed. Based on the floating potential profile and a current balance equation to the probe array tips, the effective width of the electron beam is determined, from which we determine the radial and toroidal beam current density profiles. After the profile of the electron beam is specified from the measured beam current, we demonstrate the consistency of the current balance equation and the location of the perturbation is also in agreement with field line mapping. No significant broadening of the electron beam is observed after the beam propagates for tens of centimeters through the high density plasma. These results prove that the field line mapping is, in principle, possible in high density plasmas.
Geochemical and geomechanical perturbations of the subsurface caused by the injection of fluids present the risk of leakage and seismicity. This study investigated how flow of acidic fluids affects hydraulic and frictional properties of fractures using experiments with 3.8 cm-long specimens of Eagle Ford shale, a laminated shale with carbonate-rich strata. In low-pressure flow cells, one set of samples was exposed to an acidic brine and another set was exposed to a neutral brine. X-ray computed tomography and x-ray fluorescence analysis revealed that samples exposed to the acidic brine were calcite-depleted and had developed a porous altered layer, while the other set showed little evidence of alteration. After reaction, samples were compacted and sheared in a triaxial cell that supplied normal stress and differential pore pressure at prescribed sliding velocities, independently measuring friction and permeability. During the initial compaction, the porous altered layer collapsed into fine particles that filled the fracture aperture. This effectively impeded flow and sealed the fracture, resulting in a decrease in fracture permeability by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude relative to the compressed unaltered fractures. During shear, the collapsed layer of fine-grained particles prevented the formation of interlocking micro-asperities resulting in lower frictional strength. With regard to subsurface risks, this study showcases how coupled geochemical and geomechanical processes could favorably seal fractures to inhibit leakage, but also could increase the likelihood of induced seismicity. These findings have important implications for geological carbon sequestration, pressurized fluid energy storage, geothermal energy, and other subsurface technologies.
Ant colonies regulate activity in response to changing conditions without using centralized control. Harvester ant colonies forage in the desert for seeds, and their regulation of foraging manages a tradeoff between spending and obtaining water. Foragers lose water while outside in the dry air, but the colony obtains water by metabolizing the fats in the seeds they eat. Previous work shows that the rate at which an outgoing forager leaves the nest depends on its recent experience of brief antennal contact with returning foragers that carry a seed. We examine how this process can yield foraging rates that are robust to uncertainty and responsive to temperature and humidity across minutes to hour-long timescales. To explore possible mechanisms, we develop a low-dimensional analytical model with a small number of parameters that captures observed foraging behavior. The model uses excitability dynamics to represent response to interactions inside the nest and a random delay distribution to represent foraging time outside the nest. We show how feedback of outgoing foragers returning to the nest stabilizes the incoming and outgoing foraging rates to a common value determined by the ``volatility’’ of available foragers. The model exhibits a critical volatility above which there is sustained foraging at a constant rate and below which there is cessation of foraging. To explain how the foraging rates of colonies adjust to temperature and humidity, we propose a mechanism that relies on foragers modifying their volatility after they leave the nest and get exposed to the environment. Our study highlights the importance of feedback in the regulation of foraging activity and points to modulation of volatility as a key to explaining differences in foraging activity in response to conditions and across colonies. Our results present opportunities for generalization to other contexts and systems with excitability and feedback across multiple timescales.