Flow design and simulation of a gas compression system for hydrogen fusion energy production


An innovative gas compression system is proposed and computationally researched to achieve short time response as needed in engineering applications as hydrogen fusion energy reactors and high speed hammers. The system consists of a reservoir containing high pressure gas connected to a straight tube which in turn is connected to a spherical duct, where at the sphere’s centre plasma resides in the case of a fusion reactor. Diaphragm located inside the straight tube separates the reservoir’s high pressure gas from the rest of the plenum. Once the diaphragm is breached the high pressure gas enters the plenum to drive pistons located on the inner wall of the spherical duct that will eventually end compressing the plasma.

Quasi-1D and axisymmetric flow formulations are used to design and analyse the flow dynamics. A spike is designed for the interface between the straight tube and the spherical duct to provide a smooth geometry transition for the flow. Flow simulations show high supersonic flow hitting the end of the spherical duct, generating a return shock wave propagating upstream and raising the pressure above the reservoir pressure as in the hammer wave problem, potentially giving temporary pressure boast to the pistons.

Good agreement is revealed between the two flow formulations pointing to the usefulness of the quasi-1D formulation as a rapid solver. Nevertheless, a mild time delay in the axisymmetric flow simulation occurred due to moderate two-dimensionality effects. The compression system is settled down in a few milliseconds for a spherical duct of 0.8 m diameter using Helium gas and uniform duct cross-section area. Various system geometries are analysed using instantaneous and time history flow plots.

E. J. Avital, E. Salvatore, A. Munjiza, V. Suponitsky, D. Plant and M. Laberge, 2017. Flow design and simulation of a gas compression system for hydrogen fusion energy production. Fluid Dynamics Research. doi:10.1088/1873-7005/aa73ba

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This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Fluid Dynamics Research following peer review.
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© 2017 The Japan Society of Fluid Mechanics and IOP Publishing Ltd