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Shear Strength and Release of Large Cryogenic Pellets from the Barrel of a Shattered Pellet Injector for Disruption Mitigatio...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Fusion Science and Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 8

Shattered pellet injection (SPI) has been chosen as the baseline disruption mitigation system on ITER due to its ability to rapidly inject material deep into the plasma to greatly increase the plasma density and radiate the thermal energy. SPI utilizes a mechanical punch or high-pressure gas to release and accelerate a pellet that has been cryogenically desublimated in the barrel of a pipe gun. Various material injection combinations could possibly be implemented during different phases of a disruption event to radiate plasma energy, reduce electromagnetic loads on machine components, avoid the formation of runaway electrons, or to dissipate runaway electrons that form. Each injection phase could possibly utilize combinations of deuterium, neon, or argon.
In this paper we outline experimental measurements of pellet material shear strength at SPI operating temperatures to understand the force needed to release SPI pellets. Deuterium, neon, argon, and deuterium-neon mixture pellets with diameters of 8.5, 12.5, and 15.7 mm are formed at a range of relevant gas pressures and temperatures and dislodged from the cold zone with a slow-moving piston driven by a motor. The slow-moving piston is kept above the triple point temperature of the material while the pellet is forming, then cooled to below the triple point temperature before contacting the pellet to minimize any thermal conduction to the pellet. The piston incorporates a load cell to measure the force applied when the pellet breaks away from the cold zone in the barrel.
The ability of the gas and punch methods to exceed the shear strength of the studied pellet materials for release has been analyzed.
High pressure gas delivered by fast opening valves produce pressure shock to the pellet due to supersonic expansion of the propellant gas. Pressure (and therefore, force) oscillations are present due to transverse density propagation throughout the breech volume. Mechanical punches deliver an impact force through a high-kinetic energy impact. The effect of the mechanical shock on the pellet has been explored and will be presented in this paper. Scaling to larger ITER size SPI pellets will be described.