Christopher Jagoe, 2018, Physics

This summer, I interned with the research team at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab in Plainsboro, NJ. My project focused on a proposed solution to one of the most difficult problems that still faces fusion reactors: heat dissipation. In the new concept, a chamber filled with lithium vapor extracts the heat of an incoming jet of plasma, while the geometry of the box prevents matter from escaping back into the body of the reactor. This involves a complicated geometry and little-understood physics, so my group proposed a mock-up experiment using water vapor at more human-friendly temperatures, sizes, and costs. Simultaneously, we employed a computational fluid dynamics code called OpenFOAM to analyze the rarefied particle flows. Our goal was to understand the software and compare it to the water vapor experiment, so that we could verify OpenFOAM’s results and use it for the more complex lithium system. This summer gave me a great insight into this important problem for sustainable energy, while exposing me to the lifestyle of graduate school and a career in research.