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FEM-DBEM approach to analyse crack scenarios in a baffle cooling pipe undergoing heat flux from the plasma

R. Citarella V. Giannella M. A. Lepore J. Fellinger

*Corresponding author: R. Citarella rcitarella@unisa.it


Wendelstein 7-X is the world’s largest nuclear fusion experiment of stellarator type, in which a hydrogen plasma is confined by a magnet field generated with external superconducting coils, allowing the plasma to be heated up to the fusion temperature. The water-cooled Plasma Facing Components (PFC) protect the Plasma Vessel (PV) against radiative and convective heat from the plasma. After the assembly process of heat shields and baffles, several cracks were found in the braze and cooling pipes. Due to heat load cycles occurring during each Operational Phase (OP), thermal stresses are generated in the heat sinks, braze root and cooling pipes, capable to drive fatigue crack-growth and, possibly, a water leak through the pipe thickness. The aim of this study is to assess the most dangerous initial crack configurations in one of the most critical baffles by using numerical models based on a FEM-DBEM approach.

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