Research into lithium as a plasma facing component material has illustrated its ability to engender low recycling operation at the plasma edge leading to higher energy confinement times. Introducing lithium into a practical fusion device would almost certainly require the lithium to be flowing to maintain a clean lithium surface for gettering. Several conceptual designs have been proposed, like the LiMIT concept of UIUC (Ruzic, 2011). Critical to the implementation of these devices is understanding the interactions of liquid lithium with various surfaces. For a device that relies on thermoelectric magnetohydrodynamic drive, such as the LiMIT concept, two of the critical interactions are the wetting of materials by lithium, which may be characterized by the contact angle between the lithium and the surface, and the relative thermopower between lithium and potential substrate materials. Experiments have been performed into the contact angle of liquid lithium droplets with various surfaces, as well as methods to decrease the contact angle of lithium with a given surface. The contact angle, as well as its dependence on temperature was measured. For example, at 200°C, tungsten registers a contact angle of 130°, whereas above its wetting temperature of 350°C, the contact angle is less than 80°. Glow discharge cleaning of the target surface as well as evaporation of a thin layer of liquid lithium onto the surface prior to performing wetting measurements were both found to decrease the wetting temperature.
- Contact angle
- Plasma facing components
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanical Engineering