EUROfusion Engineering Grant for the development of high-tech tungsten-copper materials for plasma-facing components

The IPP materials scientist Robert Lürbke is one of 16 young researchers who will be awarded the EUROfusion Engineering Grant 2024.

Current divertor plasma-facing component (PFC) designs are either the monoblock, where a copper alloy (Cu) cooling tube is joined to a tungsten (W) block, or the flat tile, where a W tile is brazed to a Cu heat sink. Recent efforts in material modeling have shown that a discrete volumetric material distribution of W and Cu can significantly reduce the thermal stresses in a PFC. This is done by combining the two materials into a composite, which inherits properties from both materials.

In his EEG project, Robert Lürbke will utilize the unprecedented freedom of design of additive manufacturing to create materials with adjustable macroscopic properties. This is done by infiltrating additively manufactured W lattices with Cu in a vacuum furnace (see figure). W lattices can be produced in various processes with different raw materials and energy sources, which results in varying part quality. The processes will be benchmarked against each other to achieve the best possible result.

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