Project

Tokamak Simulations

Publisher

Supervisor

Location

Greater Copenhagen area

Fusion as a future energy source

Magnetic confinement fusion is a promising candidate for a clean, reliable and sustainable energy source. The idea is to fuse hydrogen isotopes to Helium, a process that releases a large amount of energy. This process has kept our Sun burning for the last four billion years. However, the necessary temperatures to sustain fusion on Earth lie around 100 Million Kelvin. A gas this hot is in the so-called plasma state and is typically highly turbulent. On the Sun, this manifests in the form of solar flares that expel into the surrounding empty space. On Earth, we have to confine the plasma with magnetic fields and material walls. A corresponding flare can therefore hit a plasma facing material component of the wall, which is then subject to similar or even higher heat loads to a spacecraft reentering Earth’s atmosphere. A heat load this high is unacceptable in a fusion power plant. Since the lifetime expectancy of such a plant should be years, it is crucial to understand and ultimately inhibit certain unwanted transport processes in the plasma.

 

The new Danish Tokamak

Our institute recently acquired a so-called tokamak. A tokamak is essentially a toroidally shaped vacuum vessel together with a magnetic field that confines the plasma. It can be viewed as the small scale version of the future fusion power plant and is well-suited for the study of plasma behavior.

 

Plasma description

For the description of low-frequency phenomena in magnetized plasmas, so-called drift-reduced Braginskii (also called drift-fluid) and gyro-fluid models are efficient. Both of these approaches remove the fast time and spatial scales associated with the gyration of charged particles in the magnetic field. Compared to the most accurate kinetic descriptions the reduced dimensionality in fluid models significantly lowers the complexity of the model. Still, purely analytical approaches exist only for the most simplified model equations.

 

Simulations

Due to the complexity of the underlying model equations, we use simulations to gain insight into the physical mechanisms of the plasma. The value of simulations is that they offer a complete determination of all variables involved. Ideally, a simulation is a virtual laboratory.

 

Research plan

The goal of this project is to study the plasma in the new tokamak with the help of numerical simulations. Open research questions are for example the fluctuation levels of the plasma density or the optimization of magnetic field configuration. The work will be in close collaboration with the experimental group in our institute. Ideally, the simulation results will be validated against experimental probe measurements. The simulations will be setup with the help of the Feltor library (https://feltor-dev.github.io).  Feltor is an easy-to-use free software package that we have developed particularly for the use in drift- and gyro-fluid models.

 We offer both bachelor and master theses on this topic.

 






Requirements

Fluid- and Electrodynamics are advantageous

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Contact

Company / Organization

DTU Fysik

Name

Matthias Wiesenberger

Position

Postdoc

Mail

mattwi@fysik.dtu.dk

Supervisor info

BSc in Physics and Nanotechnology

Supervisor

Matthias Wiesenberger

Co-supervisors

Stefan Kragh Nielsen

ECTS credits

15 - 30

Type

BSc project, MSc thesis

MSc in Physics and Nanotechnology

Supervisor

Matthias Wiesenberger

Co-supervisors

Stefan Kragh Nielsen

ECTS credits

15 - 30

Type

BSc project, MSc thesis

Technical University of Denmark

For almost two centuries DTU, Technical University of Denmark, has been dedicated to fulfilling the vision of H.C. Ørsted – the father of electromagnetism – who founded the university in 1829 to develop and create value using the natural sciences and the technical sciences to benefit society.


Today, DTU is ranked as one of the foremost technical universities in Europe, continues to set new records in the number of publications, and persistently increases and develops our partnerships with industry, and assignments accomplished by DTU’s public sector consultancy.

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