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Influence of the Particle Flux on Surface Modifications of Tungsten

Abstract : Tungsten is the selected material to be used in the ITER divertor due to its favorable thermal and physical properties. Particle flux densities and energies, and surface temperature will vary by several orders of magnitude along the divertor surface, with values in the range 1020-1024 m2s-1, 0.1-100 eV and 370-1370 K, respectively. Exposed to such conditions, tungsten may undergo erosion, cracking and other surface modifications affecting its thermal and mechanical properties. Another concern is the retention of implanted radioactive fuel atoms (tritium) in the material surface and their diffusion through the bulk. A considerable amount of studies have addressed retention and plasma induced surface modifications, focusing mainly on the effect of ion energy, ion fluence and surface temperature while very little knowledge exists on the influence of the plasma flux. These results are largely scattered and occasionally bear a lack of consistency. The aim of this thesis is to provide a coherent picture of the behavior of tungsten exposed to plasma conditions relevant for future fusion reactors. A systematic investigation assessing the impact of the plasma flux density and exposure temperature on surface modifications and hydrogen accumulation in tungsten was performed by means of experiments carried out in the linear plasma devices PSI2 at Forschungszentrum Juelich, Pilot-PSI and Magnum-PSI at DIFFER, and PISCES-A at UCSD. The correlation between the particle flux density, exposure temperature, surface modifications and hydrogen retention in tungsten was investigated for different material microstructures. Three types of polycrystalline tungsten (thermally treated at 1273 and 2273 K) and single crystal tungsten samples (110 crystal orientation) were exposed to deuterium plasmas at surface temperatures of 530-1170 K to two different ranges of deuterium ion fluxes (low and high flux: ~1022 and ~1024 m2s-1). All the exposures were performed at the same incident ion energy of 40 eV and particle fluence of ~1026 m2. The exposed samples were analyzed postmortem utilizing various surface imaging and analyses techniques (microscopy, thermal desorption spectroscopy and ion beam analysis). Increasing the particle flux by two orders of magnitude caused blister formation at temperatures above 700 K for which blistering is usually absent under low flux exposure conditions. Small blisters of several tens of nanometers and up to 1 micrometer of lateral size were detected on the annealed polycrystalline and in single crystal tungsten samples, respectively. On the contrary, blisters were absent on the recrystallized samples except for the low flux and low temperature case where large blisters of about 10 micrometer and cavities along the grain boundaries appeared. The total deuterium retention was measured by means of thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS). In the cases with low exposure temperatures, the retained fraction of deuterium was one to two orders of magnitude higher after exposure to the low flux compared to the high flux. On the contrary, an opposite tendency of the total deuterium retention at high exposure temperatures was observed. Hence, the maximum of the total deuterium retention was observed to occur at a higher temperature in the case of high incident particle flux (~850 K) compared to low flux exposures (~650 K). Overall, experimental results on deuterium retention were similar for all the investigated tungsten microstructures. Deuterium retention decreased at high temperatures and the maximal retention was lower for high flux exposures. However, due to the shift of the maximal retention to higher temperatures, the amount of deuterium retained at temperatures above 800 K was higher at high flux rather than at low flux, being still about one order of magnitude lower than the maximal retention at low flux
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  • HAL Id : tel-01751975, version 1

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Luxherta Buzi. Influence of the Particle Flux on Surface Modifications of Tungsten. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université de Lorraine, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015LORR0117⟩. ⟨tel-01751975⟩

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