Helium Retention and Diffusivity in Flowing Liquid Lithium

March 1, 2003

J. Nucl. Mater., 313-316, 646-650 (2003).

Nieto, M., Ruzic, D. N., Allain, J. P., Coventry, M. D., Vargas-Lopez, E.

The flowing liquid surface retention experiment (FLIRE) has been designed to provide fundamental data on the retention and pumping of He, H and other species in flowing liquid surfaces. The FLIRE facility currently uses an ion beam source, which injects ions into a flowing stream of liquid lithium. Its design allows the liquid lithium to flow between two vacuum chambers that become isolated from each other when the lithium flows. Flow velocities between 0.5 and 3.0 m/s down two ramps inside the upper vacuum chamber can be achieved. The ramps and lines where the liquid lithium flows are heated to temperatures ranging from 250 to 500 °C to prevent any possible freezing. A dual residual gas analyzer system monitors the partial pressure of the implanted species in both vacuum chambers. The release rate of gas atoms in the second chamber is directly related to the mechanisms of transport within the metal bulk and also the process of desorption from the surface. For the case of helium, the diffusion coefficient was calculated to be 4.5×10−3 cm2/s at 250 °C, with an uncertainty of ±2×10−3 cm2/s. Helium retention coefficients on the order of 10−4 were obtained based on the experimental data.