Fracture mechanical analysis of tungsten armor failure of a water-cooled divertor target

Muyuan Li, Ewald Werner, Jeong Ha You

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

The inherent brittleness of tungsten at low temperature and the embrittlement by neutron irradiation are its most critical weaknesses for fusion applications. In the current design of the ITER and DEMO divertor, the high heat flux loads during the operation impose a strong constraint on the structure-mechanical performance of the divertor. Thus, the combination of brittleness and the thermally induced stress fields due to the high heat flux loads raises a serious reliability issue in terms of the structural integrity of tungsten armor. In this study, quantitative estimates of the vulnerability of the tungsten monoblock armor cracking under stationary high heat flux loads are presented. A comparative fracture mechanical investigation has been carried out by means of two different types of computational approaches, namely, the extended finite element method (XFEM) and the finite element method (FEM)-based virtual crack tip extension (VCE) method. The fracture analysis indicates that the most probable pattern of crack formation is radial cracking in the tungsten armor starting from the interface to tube and the most probable site of cracking is the upper interfacial region of the tungsten armor adjacent to the top position of the copper interlayer. The strength threshold for crack initiation and the high heat flux load threshold for crack propagation are evaluated based on XFEM simulations and computations of stress intensity factors and J-integrals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2716-2725
Number of pages10
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
Volume89
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014

Keywords

  • Crack
  • Divertor
  • Fracture mechanics
  • High heat flux loads
  • Stress intensity factor
  • Tungsten armor

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