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Fusion experiment takes a "break"

Walter J. Drugan

Walter J. Drugan (36K JPG)

When members of the Fusion Technology Institute began a project with Sandia National Laboratories to study whether high-energy X-rays could induce fusion in material samples, they knew that given X-ray doses, the materials' support structures would rapidly fragment and generate shrapnel inside their containment vessel. What they didn't know was what size the shrapnel would be, how it would behave inside the vessel, and whether it would penetrate the vessel.

The problem presented Professor Walt Drugan with an opportunity to participate in one of the department's many cross-disciplinary research studies. Drugan used his knowledge of fracture mechanics to develop fundamental theoretical models that predict how and when material ruptures dynamically, given such variables as the material, how the energy is delivered, and how much and at what rate energy is delivered.

Now Drugan is continuing his fundamental research on dynamic fragmentation with a grant from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His predictions apply to a variety of situations, from designing space structures resistant to high-energy, fast-moving space debris, to planning safe, targeted mining blasts.


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Date last modified: Thursday, 07-Nov-2002 16:09:45 CST
Date created: 07-Nov-2002