Giovanna Nucci ’25


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Project Title

B10-pellet Fluidized Bed for D-He3 Fusion Reactor Shielding

Neutron shielding is essential to protect fusion-reactor components from damage. Energy from the neutron bombardment and from radiation must be extracted from the shielding at high efficiency for conversion to electricity. I researched whether shielding in the form of a fluidized bed of B-10 pellets contained between two concentric nonconducting cylinders can solve many problems faced by historical neutron shielding designs whose primary function was tritium breeding. I worked with another Princeton student to conduct simulations using CFD-ANSYS software to understand fluid flow and discrete element method simulations to understand particle behavior. The simulations were then compared to a single-cylinder simple setup that used a fast camera for data collection. We then analyzed the various forms of data and looked for connections to relevant literature to gain insight into the instabilities and challenges a fluidized bed would present. I gained valuable experience with ANSYS and a greater comprehension of the research process. Conducting a research project from start to finish — from reviewing literature, to running simulations, to experimentation itself and into analysis — meant I gained a breadth of knowledge that has helped me understand which phases of research I enjoy and want to pursue further.

Internship Year


Project Category

Innovation and a New Energy Future


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory - Princeton, New Jersey


Samuel Cohen, Director, Program in Plasma Science and Technology, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory