Simulation studies of hydrodynamic aspects of magneto-inertial fusion and high order adaptive algorithms for Maxwell equations
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Three-dimensional simulations of the formation and implosion of plasma liners for the Plasma Jet Induced Magneto Inertial Fusion (PJMIF) have been performed using multi-scale simulation technique based on the FronTier code. In the PJMIF concept, a plasma liner, formed by merging of a large number of radial, highly supersonic plasma jets, implodes on the target in the form of two compact plasma toroids, and compresses it to conditions of the nuclear fusion ignition. The propagation of a single jet with Mach number 60 from the plasma gun to the merging point was studied using the FronTier code. The simulation result was used as input to the 3D jet merger problem. The merger of 144, 125, and 625 jets and the formation and heating of plasma liner by compression waves have been studied and compared with recent theoretical predictions. The main result of the study is the prediction of the average Mach number reduction and the description of the liner structure and properties. We have also compared the effect of different merging radii. Spherically symmetric simulations of the implosion of plasma liners and compression of plasma targets have also been performed using the method of front tracking. The cases of single deuterium and xenon liners and double layer deuterium. xenon liners compressing various deuterium-tritium targets have been investigated, optimized for maximum fusion energy gains, and compared with theoretical predictions and scaling laws of [P. Parks, On the efficacy of imploding plasma liners for magnetized fusion target compression, Phys. Plasmas 15, 062506 (2008)]. In agreement with the theory, the fusion gain was significantly below unity for deuterium. tritium targets compressed by Mach 60 deuterium liners. In the most optimal setup for a given chamber size that contained a target with the initial radius of 20 cm compressed by 10 cm thick, Mach 60 xenon liner, the target ignition and fusion energy gain of 10 was achieved. Simulations also showed that composite deuterium. xenon liners reduce the energy gain due to lower target compression rates. The effect of heating of targets by alpha particles on the fusion energy gain has also been investigated. The study of the dependence of the ram pressure amplification on radial compressibility showed a good agreement with the theory. The study concludes that a liner with higher Mach number and lower adiabatic index gamma (the radio of specific heats) will generate higher ram pressure amplification and higher fusion energy gain. We implemented a second order embedded boundary method for the Maxwell equations in geometrically complex domains. The numerical scheme is second order in both space and time. Comparing to the first order stair-step approximation of complex geometries within the FDTD method, this method can avoid spurious solution introduced by the stair step approximation. Unlike the finite element method and the FE-FD hybrid method, no triangulation is needed for this scheme. This method preserves the simplicity of the embedded boundary method and it is easy to implement. We will also propose a conservative (symplectic) fourth order scheme for uniform geometry boundary.