Creating Hardened And Durable fusion first Wall Incorporating Centralized Knowledge

ARPA-E CHADWICK Program Graphic

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Program Description:

CHADWICK will pursue the discovery of transformational first-wall materials that will maintain performance over the 40-year design lifetime of a fusion power plant. The goal of the CHADWICK program is to spur the innovation and production of new materials that can maintain room temperature ductility, high thermal conductivity, low activation, dimensional stability, tritium retention, and low plasma erosion after irradiation. This program goes beyond optimization of known alloys to provide a comprehensive wide-ranging survey and analysis of new material chemistries and manufacturing processes by reimagining what is possible in fusion materials.

The CHADWICK program comprises three technical categories. Category A projects will target plasma-facing component materials, Category B teams will validate structural materials, and Category C projects will support analysis and facilitate communications with end users for Category A and/or B teams.

If successful, new materials developed by the CHADWICK program could increase first-wall lifetime by a factor of 10. These materials could be essential to the deployment of sustained and economical fusion energy.

Innovation Need:

In most fusion power systems, fusion reactions are physically contained by the first wall. The first wall bears the mechanical load and protects the components from the extreme heat and highly energetic charged and neutral particles. The safety and structural performance of the first wall are compromised over time by significant exposure to high-energy neutrons and heat flux. As fusion energy advances towards commercial deployment, the lifetime and maintainability of first-wall materials will become a major challenge for the commercial viability of fusion power plants.

Commercial materials with known high-temperature resistance can become brittle and swollen under irradiation. Yet materials that exhibit high irradiation resistance may show low thermal conductivity or high activation. Finding a material that has the most optimized performance for a fusion first-wall is a major scientific and engineering challenge.

Potential Impact:

Transforming the first wall in fusion energy systems would have the following impacts:


Domestic fusion energy generation would lower the reliance on importing energy from foreign sources.


Fusion energy would not emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, creating a zero-emission energy source for electricity.


Achieving long operating lifetimes and maintainability of first-wall materials will overcome a major challenge for the commercial viability of fusion power plants.


Program Director:
Dr. Ahmed Diallo
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