Tungsten (W)–armored graphitic foam monoblocks were developed for applications requiring high-Z plasma-facing material in long-pulse fusion experiments and ultimately deuterium-tritium fusion reactors. The monoblocks are an integrated material system combining the advantages of a chemical vapor deposited (CVD) W coating with a high-conductivity graphitic foam. The W is a high-melting-point, high-Z material with low tritium retention. The graphitic foam coupled to a swirl tube serves as a high-thermal-conductivity heat sink that cannot melt, although it can sublime at much higher temperatures than copper melts. Together, they comprise a robust plasma-facing component (PFC) weighing roughly 5% of an all-W component or 17% of a traditional W-coated copper heat sink.
A single-channel mock-up consisting of four graphitic foam monoblocks equipped with a water-cooled swirl tube was fabricated for eventual testing in the 60-kW, EB-60, rastered electron beam at the Applied Research Laboratory of The Pennsylvania State University. Two monoblocks have a thin 50-μm-thick coating of pure W chemically vapor deposited over NbC and pure Nb interlayers. Two others have a 2-mm-thick pure W coating CVD on graphitic monoblocks using the same interlayers. The mock-up will be cooled with available 10 m/s, 0.7 MPa water with a 22°C inlet temperature and subjected to varying uniform heat loads up to 20 MW/m2. It is equipped with type-K thermocouples at various depths, and calibrated infrared thermography and spot pyrometry will be used to characterize the heated surface. Real-time water calorimetry will be used to ascertain the absorbed steady-state power and infer the heat flux during testing.
Since testing cannot be done under prototypic divertor flow conditions, it is necessary to predict the thermal response of this novel PFC system and investigate the power sharing between radiation and convection at divertor heat flux levels and its inherent ability to avoid critical heat flux. Results are reported for predictions obtained from computational fluid dynamics models up to 30 MW/m2 of steady-state uniform heat flux. Leading-edge heat loads of 30 MW/m2 on a 2-mm-wide side strip were also investigated to ascertain if coating delamination is likely.