Plasma Jet Injection of Angular Momentum in the Maryland Centrifugal Experiment

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Hyperv Technologies Corporation
13935 Willard Road Array
Chantilly, VA 20151
Firm POC

Abstract

The centrifugal confinement of plasma has great potential as a fusion device. In order to operate in the highest temperature and density regimes, angular momentum must be injected into the plasma without permitting the plasma to come into contact with a material surface. To accomplish this, the plasma must be injected at high velocity tangential to the direction of plasma rotation. In this project, angular momentum will be injected into a large centrifugally confined mirror plasma, using a two stage coaxial plasma accelerator with shaped electrodes. This process will allow the high velocity jets to efficiently couple to the target plasma. In Phase I, a prototype accelerator was designed and fabricated, and test-fired in the laboratory in preparation for injection experiments on a mirror machine plasma experiment. Simulations were performed that showed that high velocity, moderate mass slugs efficiently can indeed drive target plasma rotation. In Phase II, the plasma jet hardware will be installed on a large, centrifugally-confined, mirror plasma experiment, and extensive testing will be performed. The ideal set of parameters that will most effectively couple the jet momentum to the plasma rotation will be determined. The computational modeling will be benchmarked against these results. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The plasma jet technology should be applicable to commercial fusion power, refueling of magnetically confined plasmas, high specific-impulse thrusters for space propulsion, laboratory simulation of astrophysical jets, fast-pulsed power switching, and materials processing