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Wednesday, August 08, 2012
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Magneto-Inertial Fusion: Basic Principles

Thomas J. Awe
Sandia National Laboratories

In Magneto-Inertial Fusion (MIF), magnetized fusion fuel is compressed and inertially confined. First, fusion fuel with an embedded magnetic field is assembled. Next, the fuel is rapidly compressed by some type of external pusher, increasing the fuel density and compressing the magnetic flux to very high field strength (megagauss level). The presence of the strong magnetic field reduces thermal conduction (heat loss), and shortens the mean free path of the alpha particles generated by the burning plasma, allowing them to deposit their energy and further heat the fuel. These features distinguish MIF from non-magnetized inertial confinement fusion systems (for example, MIF ignition criterion are based on Br rather than ρr), and can significantly relax the parameters that the assembled fuel must reach. Relaxed stagnation requirements allow reduced implosion velocity; this, in-turn, allows use of efficient and inexpensive (relative to lasers or heavy ion drivers) pulsed power systems for fuel compression. This lecture will outline the ignition requirements of inertially confined fusion fuels, and show why and how compressing magnetized fuels alters these requirements. Next, brief overviews of several past and present MIF-relevant research efforts will be given.

Host: Tom Intrator, P-24,, 665-2927