Free surface stability of liquid metal plasma facing components

P. Fiflis, M. Christenson, M. Szott, K. Kalathiparambil, D. N. Ruzic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An outstanding concern raised over the implementation of liquid metal plasma facing components in fusion reactors is the potential for ejection of liquid metal into the fusion plasma. The influences of Rayleigh-Taylor-like and Kelvin-Helmholtz-like instabilities were experimentally observed and quantified on the thermoelectric-driven liquid-metal plasma-facing structures (TELS) chamber at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To probe the stability boundary, plasma currents and velocities were first characterized with a flush probe array. Subsequent observations of lithium ejection under exposure in the TELS chamber exhibited a departure from previous theory based on linear perturbation analysis. The stability boundary is mapped experimentally over the range of plasma impulses of which TELS is capable to deliver, and a new theory based on a modified set of the shallow water equations is presented which accurately predicts the stability of the lithium surface under plasma exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106020
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 16 2016


  • lithium
  • plasma facing component
  • stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Free surface stability of liquid metal plasma facing components'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this