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Ground-breaking additive manufacturing test is a fusion first | 21/12/2016
Culham's HIVE facility has successfully conducted the first ever test of an additively manufactured prototype for one of the key components of a fusion reactor – the ‘divertor' exhaust system.
Heat by Induction to Verify Extremes (HIVE) is a unique facility set up at CCFE for high heat flux testing of plasma-facing components. Its main function is to assess the effectiveness of novel structures to withstand fusion-relevant conditions. It is partly funded by AMAZE – a multi-agency European programme exploring the advantages of new manufacturing methods for advanced design, including ‘additive manufacturing' (more commonly known as 3D printing).
The divertor will take the brunt of the heat being ejected from the plasma in a fusion reactor, so it is a particularly suitable component to test at HIVE. The prototype was fabricated at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen-Nürnberg using Electron Beam Melting of copper with a tungsten armour layer added by Culham's Special Techniques Group.
“This result is an excellent example of cross-functional team effort, spanning the design and manufacture of test pieces to modelling the operational window, constructing, and commissioning the facility. HIVE is a unique facility in fusion and we are the only member of AMAZE using Additive Manufacturing to build novel components,” said Elizabeth Surrey, Head of Technology at Culham. ”The HIVE facility is ready to test the latest manufacturing techniques to their limits.”