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Accueil > Interactions > Interdisciplinaires > Nuclear fusion : modeling and simulation

Nuclear fusion : modeling and simulation    fr

- Research team : partial differential equations and control theory
- Contact : Eric Sonnendrücker
- Project web site

 vue 3D du potentiel électrique dans un Tokamak. A nuclear fusion reaction corresponds to the fusion of two light nuclei into a heavier one and produces a lot of energy. Fusion is the basis of the energy of stars in which a confinement at a sufficient density is provided by their mass. The research on controlled fusion on Earth is considering two approaches. On the one hand inertial confinement fusion aims at achieving a very high density for a relatively short time by shooting on a capsule of deuterium and tritium beams with lasers. On the other hand magnetic confinement fusion consists in confining the plasma with a magnetic field at a lower density but for a longer time. The latter approach is pursued in the ITER project whose construction has just started at Cadarache in the south-eastern France.

In order for this experiment to succeed a lot of progress still needs to made in view of a good understanding of the underlying physics. This requires the use of complex models and large scale numerical simulation on the latest generation supercomputers.Hence, underlying the physics problems, there are many research topics for applied mathematics and computer science. Beyond academic physics of magnetized plasmas which remains complex and source of many open problems, the simulation of a device as complex as a tokamak is particularly demanding. The models are complex and not always well defined. Simulations often involved complex geometries and very disparate time and space scales. Due to this, sophisticated numerical methods and fine optimisation of the codes are necessary. This cannot be done efficiently without a very close collaboration between physicists, applied mathematicians and computer scientists.

Two main models are used for the description of plasmas, fluid models and the more precise kinetic models, which consist of the Vlasov equation describing the evolution of each species of particles in phase space coupled with the Maxwell equations for the self-consistent computation of the electro-magnetic field. One of the major difficulties of this model is that it is posed in phase space which has twice the dimension of the physical configuration space thus necessarily leading to very large computational problems when the relevant physics needs to be addressed. Our team is developing in collaboration with physicists from CEA Cadarache the GYSELA code, which has been optimized to run efficiently on more than 60000 cores. More work on the numerical methods and on the models is under way.

Dernière mise à jour le 14-12-2011