Study of the Erosion of Copper by Hot Plasma
An exhaustive study of the erosion process of a copper cathode exposed to a hot plasma column of 2kJ of energy (T≈0.5-2.0keV) and high electron density (n≈1019-1022cm3) was made, as well as, the radiation field of charged and neutral particles. The characterization of the cumulative damage generated by the plasma/cathode interaction was made by the use of metallographic techniques, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and by the analysis of mechanical properties. Damage accumulation produced by the impacts of deuterium plasma discharge created in the copper electrode a deep cavity similar to a crater, modifying the morphology of the surface and below it. The microhardness Vickers test was carried out making indentations from the final part of the cavity to cover 1 cm with indentations every 200 μm. Different areas of hardening were observed, the profile suggests a hardening/recovery front and simultaneous recrystallization in the sample, phenomenon associated with the heating/cooling cycles to which the copper cathode is subjected. Images were captured by SEM at different distances from the center of the surface. The region that showed involvement at the macro level corresponds to 2/3 of the radius of the sample from the center to the outside. These phenomena studied are important to understand the nature of the plasma/wall interaction in any fusion device.
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