The cooling of the plasma focus electrodes, especially the anode, is likely to be the toughest engineering problem to be faced by LPP Fusion’s dense plasma focus project when they go from a demonstration of net fusion energy in the lab to a working fusion generator.
To get a head start on the problem LPPFusion investor Jerry Black has teamed up with fellow engineers John Blanton and Mike Ruthemeyer to simulate the heating process. The team met while they were all working on the design of giant General Electric turbines. Initial studies indicate that, as the LPPFusion research team anticipated, the greatest heating will come from the X-rays emitted by the plasmoid. These studies also confirm the vast superiority of beryllium, which minimally absorbs X-rays, therefore minimizing electrode heating. Further studies will make the X-ray emission spectrum and the distribution of current in the electrodes more realistic. Such studies will speed up the engineering phase once the research phase is complete.