INVESTIGATIONS ON THE DIRECT CONVERSION OF NUCLEAR FISSION ENERGY TO ELECTRICAL ENERGY IN A PLASMA DIODE.
Annual rept. no. 7, 1 Nov 65-31 Oct 66,
GENERAL MOTORS RESEARCH LABS WARREN MI
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Inpile microwave measurements of electron density in neon-argon and argon-cesium plasmas generated by fission fragments are compared with values of electron density predicted from a reaction kinetics theory. The main purpose of the comparison is to assess the validity of a theory designed to describe the dominant production and loss processes in noble gas-cesium thermionic converters over a wide range of conditions. For the neon-argon system the measured and predicted values were in good agreement. For the argon-cesium system the agreement between theory and experiment was less satisfactory. The highest measured electron density at full reactor power was approximately twice the computed value. Furthermore the electron density was found to be extremely dependent upon the temperature of the cavity walls. No satisfactory explanation has yet been found for this behavior. Favorable electron transport properties are expected to make the fission-fragment-generated argon-cesium plasma a good candidate for use in a nuclear thermionic converter. Theoretical transport properties are reported for this plasma when the major ion loss mechanism is ambipolar diffusion to the thermionic diode electrodes. The theoretical model is being expanded to include volume loss of the ions.
- Non-electrical Energy Conversion
- Electric Power Production and Distribution
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics