Design and Analysis of Liquid Lithium Plasma Facing Components

Andrei Khodak, Eric D. Emdee, Robert J. Goldston, Rajesh Maingi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liquid metal (LM) on plasma-facing components (PFCs) creates a renewable protective cover enhancing power exhaust and protecting the solid substrate. Additionally, energy confinement improvement through particle pumping can be achieved in the case of liquid lithium (LL). A new variant of PFCs was recently introduced at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) where a porous wall is used to stabilize the LM surface, while using magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) drive to push the LM flow inside the component. This arrangement allows efficient heat exhaust, and enhanced control of the LM surface temperature, leading to spatial control of evaporation and condensation of LL on the plasma interface. This feature is particularly attractive when vapor shielding is introduced to allow heat flux redistribution. This system has the advantage that as the heat flux increases, the evaporation rate will increase, while decreasing heat flux will decrease the evaporation rate of lithium, ideally creating a feedback effect which could self-regulate the amount of lithium evaporated. Analytical and numerical models for LL PFCs were developed in PPPL. To calculate the target temperature distribution for the case of evaporation from the divertor, we apply an iterative process allowing two-way coupling between the fluid-kinetic analysis of plasma using SOLPS-ITER code and the flow and heat transfer analysis of the PFC using an analytical model. In the last stage, the results are validated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis with customized version of the CFX code from ANSYS. CFX was modified at PPPL to allow MHD analysis at the high magnetic field typical for fusion applications. Results of the analysis for NSTX-U tokamak conditions will be presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Evaporation
  • Heating systems
  • High heat flux
  • liquid lithium (LL)
  • Lithium
  • numerical analysis
  • plasma facing components (PFCs)
  • Plasma temperature
  • Plasmas
  • Slabs
  • Sputtering


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