NEWS  |  MERL collaborates with MIT on heat management in compact fusion reactors

Date released: October 11, 2018

  •  NEWS   MERL collaborates with MIT on heat management in compact fusion reactors
  • Date:

    October 11, 2018

  • Description:

    A new approach to heat management in compact fusion reactors that emerged from a class at MIT, developed by graduate student Adam Kuang and 14 other MIT students, engineers from Commonwealth Fusion Systems as well as Piyush Grover and Chris Laughman from MERL, and Professor Dennis Whyte, was recently published in Fusion Engineering and Design. This solution was made possible by an innovative approach to compact fusion reactors, using high-temperature superconducting magnets. This method formed the basis for a massive new research program launched this year at MIT and the creation of an independent startup company to develop the concept. The new design, unlike that of typical fusion plants, would make it possible to open the device's internal chamber and replace critical components; this capability is essential for the newly proposed heat-draining mechanism.

    In the one-semester graduate class 22.63 (Principles of Fusion Engineering), students were divided into teams to address different aspects of the heat rejection challenge. These teams evaluated alternate concepts and subjected candidate designs to detailed calculations and simulations based, in part, on data from decades of research on research fusion devices such as MIT's Alcator C-Mod, which was retired two years ago. C-Mod scientist Brian LaBombard also shared insights on new kinds of divertors, and two engineers from MERL worked with the team as well. Several of the students continued working on the project after the class ended, ultimately leading to the solution described in this new paper.

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  • Research Area:

    Multi-Physical Modeling