Magnetic screening currents and coupling losses induced in superconducting magnets for thermonuclear fusion

Abstract : Tokamaks aim at producing energy by thermonuclear fusion heating a hydrogen plasma up to 150 million K and confining it with an intense magnetic field created by magnets carrying important currents. Superconductivity is a very valuable asset in this field since it allows to reduce the size of the magnets and their energy consumption in exchange for cooling them down to cryogenic temperatures. However, in tokamaks, magnetic field variations occur (e.g. due to the central solenoid discharge) and generate induction losses in the magnets. If their temperature increases too much, they lose their superconducting properties in a brutal transition called "quench": to protect their integrity, they are then discharged and the magnetic confinement of the plasma is lost. We have therefore focused on the modeling of these losses - more precisely on the “coupling losses” - since their knowledge is crucial to safely adapt the cryogenic cooling of the magnets and predict the operating limits of the tokamak. In order to both enhance the physical understanding of this complex phenomenon and provide simple but realistic solutions that can easily be integrated in multiphysics platforms already heavily solicited by the modeling of other effects, we have chosen to adopt an analytical approach on this problem. The cables commonly considered for tokamaks presenting a rather complex architecture (several hundreds of strands twisted together in specific patterns), we have carried out analytical and experimental studies at the different scales of the cable; we then compare the results of our approach to other existing ones (e.g. numerical models) and, when possible, to the experiment.
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Alexandre Louzguiti. Magnetic screening currents and coupling losses induced in superconducting magnets for thermonuclear fusion. Superconductivity [cond-mat.supr-con]. UNIVERSITE D’AIX-MARSEILLE / COMMISSARIAT A L’ENERGIE ATOMIQUE, 2017. English. ⟨tel-02171185⟩

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