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3D ion gyro-orbit heat load predictions for NSTX-U

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Nuclear Fusion
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High power tokamaks operate with divertor heat loads capable of destroying the plasma facing components (PFCs). High fidelity heat load predictions are necessary to ascertain the PFC state for design and during operation. Typical heat flux calculations are 2D, time invariant, and assume that power flows directly along the magnetic field lines (the optical approximation). These assumptions neglect the complex 3D geometries employed to protect the PFCs, the time varying nature of the plasma and PFC thermal state, and the helical trajectories of ions with finite Larmor radii (the gyro-orbit approximation). An integrated software framework, the heat flux engineering analysis toolkit (HEAT), was developed to generate time varying optical heat loads applied to real engineering computer aided design (CAD) (Looby et al 2022 Fusion Sci. Technol. 78 10–27). Recently, an ion-gyro orbit module has been added to HEAT. This module calculates the helical trajectories of ions as they gyrate about the magnetic field lines using kinetic theory macro-particles to accelerate the calculation. First, the new gyro-orbit module will be presented. Next, a comparison to existing research is performed. Finally, an analysis of the gyro-orbit heat loads for NSTX-U is presented for diverted discharges using the engineering CAD models utilized for PFC fabrication. Including these gyro-orbit effects can enhance the PFC performance by 'smearing' out the magnetic shadows associated with the castellated fish-scaled geometry. Simultaneously, the helical trajectories can degrade performance when they load narrow regions on edges and corners with high heat fluxes. Analysis of the trade-offs between these competing effects is included, and regions for further investigation are identified.