Chapter 530: Dont Ruin Your Own, Ruin Others
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Hou Jinli had no idea how many times he had failed.
In the beginning, he was only preparing the SG-1 material in the laboratory and was interested in the expected waste generated in the experiment.
Compared to ordinary graphite materials, that piece of waste felt quite special in his hands.
These were the conclusions he made from the experiments. He discovered that the reason why this waste product felt so special was that it had a layer of porous mesh aerogel barrier on its surface.
Honestly speaking, this result disappointed him. After all, porous mesh aerogels made from graphene wasnt a particularly new research method. One could even make the case that similar methods were used in electrode materials.
However, this was the first research project he independently applied for in his life. This was also the first research project he worked on after coming to this research institute, so he didnt want to give up so easily.
Therefore, after he found out that the porous aerogel itself had no special characteristics, he continued to perform in-depth research on using it as a dispersing medium and looking at its dispersed phase.
This entire process was despairing.
It even made him doubt his entire life.
Fortunately, he didnt give up.
He used the porous mesh aerogel prepared from graphene as a toughening agent. He combined it with silicon carbide ceramics, and a miracle happened!
The porous mesh aerogel wasnt a particularly superior toughening agent compared to other materials, at least when one compared it to similar toughening materials.
However, its thermal properties made him so excited that he couldnt help but shout in the laboratory.
Hou Jinli immediately finished writing the experimental report and handed it to the institutes office.
The day after this experimental report was submitted, it arrived on Lu Zhous desk
Even though many interesting inventions were created by accidents, this particular accident was more unexpected than usual.
Lu Zhou looked at the experimental report. He was intrigued.
The report was divided into two parts.
The first part was about the preparation of the porous mesh aerogel.
[Using graphene oxide as the base material, prepare 1-2mg/ml of graphene oxide solution, then add the reducing agent, stir for 5-10 minutes. After that, heat it at 90-160 Celsius for 30-45 minutes, take it out and immediately put it into the freezer for four hours. After that, take it out, then continuing to reduce and thaw at a high temperature for 5 hours. Finally, wash it several times and dry it This was the method to create the porous mesh aerogel.]
The second part of the report was the crucial part of the entire experiment.
In the experiment, Hou Jinli and his research team used atomic layer deposition to chemically bond the porous mesh aerogel, which was prepared from graphene, to a silicon carbide ceramic layer. Thus, allowing them to obtain a special graphene ceramic composite.
Looking at its microstructure, this material looked like the honeycomb-shaped graphene layer was connected to a ceramic layer in the middle. These honeycomb-shaped graphene molecules were tightly bonded to the silicon carbide molecules.
According to the experiment results from the high-temperature test, in an oxygen-less environment, this special graphene-ceramic composite was able to withstand a temperature of 3,200 degrees!
Not only did it have excellent heat-resistant properties, but the material also had a small expansion coefficient. It also had remarkable anisotropy and thermal conductivity properties.
Which meant that the heat energy could be easily transmitted through its cross-section, and it wasnt easily transmitted through its vertical direction.
Other than this, it also had a high tensile and compressive strength, not to mention resistance to thermal stress.
Looking at these data, this material could be considered superb.
Yang Xu looked at Lu Zhous intrigued face and asked, Is this the material you need?
Hard to say. Lu Zhou put down the experimental report and leaned back in his office chair before saying, But this report did provide me with a new idea.
Yang Xu: Idea?
Thats right. Lu Zhou nodded and contemplated for a bit. He said, At first, I thought that ceramic materials are not suitable for the first wall, due to its poor heat dissipation properties. But looking at it from another point of view, the smaller the perpendicular heat transfer performance is, the better.
Yang Xu: What makes you think that?
Because of the liquid lithium neutron recovery system. Lu Zhou smiled and said, Due to the thermal conductivity of the carbon fiber composites, we have to consider adding another thermal insulation layer between the carbon fiber composite and the liquid lithium. Otherwise, the 3000-degree temperatures would vaporize the liquid lithium layer we used for neutron recovery.
The difference in temperature of the first wall and liquid lithium layer was one of the main difficulties in the reactor.
The thermal conductivity couldnt be too weak, nor could it be too strong. Looking at it from this point of view, carbon fiber fell quite behind.
In contrast, the anisotropy and thermal performance of this new material were quite promising. Weakening the thermal energy transfer of the vertical cross-section could provide a sufficient buffer time for the external cooling unit to come into effect.
As for the heat dissipation of the structural material, that could be solved by inserting a heat transfer tube into the structure and discharge the heat transferred from the cross-section direction.
Even though Yang Xu didnt understand much about the fusion project, Lu Zhous explanation was simple enough for Yang Xu to understand.
However, even though the thermal problem was solved, there was also another important issue
What about the neutron radiation? Thats the most important part, right?
Lu Zhou heard him and sighed. Youre right, thats the important part. Even though this material is suitable in all other aspects, its neutron radiation resistant property We have to test it before we know.
Both the silicon carbide and graphene material had stable nuclei. The carbon-silicon covalent bond was far more stable than the metal bond. Also, the permeability of neutrons through these two materials against the neutron beam was also an advantage.
At least, this was how it was theoretically.
In reality, not only would the damage caused by neutron radiation to the material cause changes in the atoms nuclei, but it would also destroy the internal chemical bonds, as well as causing basic physical damage to the material.
All of these factors couldnt be calculated with theory alone, they had to draw conclusions from experiments.
The only trouble was that
They couldnt test this thing.
Yang Xu had a painful smile on his face as he said euphemistically, This experiment isnt easy to do.
Anti-neutron radiation performance testing was one of the most difficult materials tests in the field of materials science.
Normal anti-radiation experiments were relatively easy to do, the nuclei could be irradiated by hitting them with alpha particles.
The reason why researching the first wall material for a controllable fusion reactor was difficult was because there wasnt any equipment in the world that could handle the radiation test.
There were 14MeV neutrons constantly hitting the sample, what kind of experiment equipment could handle this?
Normal alpha particles were nowhere close to having this much energy.
Even the nuclear fission power generator at Daya Bay had an anti-radiation grade two magnitudes below that of the fusion reactors!
As for the accelerator
That would be nonsense. No one had ever heard of accelerating neutrons directly. If anyone could do it, they would be the king of the theoretical physics world.
As for indirectly accelerating using the deuterium nucleus method, it was indeed possible. However, it would be better to just obtain the energy from shooting alpha particles into the metal foil. The only advantage of the former was that the neutron beam had a more stable path.
Lu Zhou thought about all this and felt like he was trapped. His fingers gently tapped on his desk, and he began to wonder.
Should I make the STAR machine suffer again?
In theory, its possible.
But this limits the rate of experiments to once a month, is the price to pay too high?
After all, theres only one stellarator in China.
The China National Nuclear Corporation is studying how to build one of its own. If our own equipment is ruined, then it would be over.
However, a light bulb suddenly turned on in Lu Zhous mind, and he clapped his forehead.
I only thought about ruining my stellarator, I forgot about the tokamak!
Even though their confinement time isnt long, at least it works!
Theres only one stellarator in China, but there are plenty of tokamaks