Overview of Liquid-Metal PFC R&D at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

D. Andruczyk, R. Rizkallah, D. O’Dea, A. Shone, S. Smith, B. Kamiyama, R. Maingi, C. E. Kessel, S. Smolentsev, T. W. Morgan, F. Romano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The design and implementation of future flowing liquid-lithium plasma-facing components (LLPFCs) will be dependent on several factors. Of course, one of the most important is the need to be able to deal with high heat fluxes incident on the surface of the LLPFCs, but there are also several other important liquid-metal behaviors that have been identified for their critical impact on the feasibility of a LLPFC. One of these is the ability to constantly wet 100% of the plasma-facing component area and the best way to achieve that. Another key point is knowing and understanding the erosion and corrosion of the surfaces subject to a flowing liquid-lithium system and the ability for hydrogen and helium uptake by the system. The Center for Plasma Material Interactions (CPMI) has been tasked with looking at these various issues. The Mock-up Entry module for EAST device was used to investigate wetting and erosion effects and to design a suitable distribution and collection system with a liquid-lithium loop. The vapor shielding effects of lithium on the surface were also modeled and studied. A model coupling CRANE, an open-source global reaction network solver, and Zapdos, a plasma transport solver, is being developed to better understand the dynamics of the vapor cloud. Experiments on the Magnum-PSI at the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research have been carried out to study the vapor shielding effect and obtain experimental benchmarks to verify the model. Also, initial experiments using the Hybrid Illinois Device for Research and Applications have been performed to understand the pumping effects of lithium on helium. Experiments with a drop of liquid lithium (~100 mg) into a helium plasma have shown the ability of lithium to take out the cold recycling helium gas as well as hydrogen and oxygen impurity gases. The improvement in plasma performance was significant, and further understanding of this effect will have impacts on how future LLPFCs will be designed. Further investigation into the exact mechanism for helium pumping by lithium needs to be performed in the future. This paper presents a summary of the results obtained at the CPMI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1112
Number of pages14
JournalFusion Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023


  • Lithium
  • fusion
  • liquid metal
  • plasma
  • vapor shielding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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