Demonstrating electromagnetic control of free-surface, liquid-metal flows relevant to fusion reactors

M. G. Hvasta, Egemen Kolemen, A. E. Fisher, Hantao Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Plasma-facing components (PFC's) made from solid materials may not be able to withstand the large heat and particle fluxes that will be produced within next-generation fusion reactors. To address the shortcomings of solid PFC's, a variety of liquid-metal (LM) PFC concepts have been proposed. Many of the suggested LM-PFC designs rely on electromagnetic restraint (Lorentz force) to keep free-surface, liquid-metal flows adhered to the interior surfaces of a fusion reactor. However, there is very little, if any, experimental data demonstrating that free-surface, LM-PFC's can actually be electromagnetically controlled. Therefore, in this study, electrical currents were injected into a free-surface liquid-metal that was flowing through a uniform magnetic field. The resultant Lorentz force generated within the liquid-metal affected the velocity and depth of the flow in a controllable manner that closely matched theoretical predictions. These results show the promise of electromagnetic control for LM-PFC's and suggest that electromagnetic control could be further developed to adjust liquid-metal nozzle output, prevent splashing within a tokamak, and alter heat transfer properties for a wide-range of liquid-metal systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016022
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • electromagnetic control
  • free-surface flow
  • galinstan
  • liquid metal
  • plasma facing components


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