Under the deal, the company will become a front-runner to supply insulating tiles made with high-quality carbon that will be used to control the heat from intensely hot plasma.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), being built in
ITER is based upon the previous tokamak concept which involves a hot gas reaction while confined in a torus-shaped vessel via a magnetic field. The gas is heated to over 100 million degrees centigrade where it will produce 500MW of fusion power.
While the plasma is produced at intense temperatures, at the bottom of the vessel, helium is extracted as a waste product using a u-shaped channel known as the diverter. This is a critical part of the reactor and is the only part in which plasma comes into contact with the vessel.
Dunlop Aerospace, a Meggitt group company, is initially providing 150kg of a special type of carbon that will form part of the diverter in order to take the helium out of the plasma. Following initial tests, the company will then be required to bid for the supply of several tonnes of carbon-carbon composite for the full-scale ITER device. Construction will commence in 2009.
Dunlop Aerospace has supplied carbon-carbon material to the Joint European Taurus (JET) in Culham for over 15 years. JET is one of the largest and most successful tokamaks and is lined with plasma facing tiles made from Dunlop carbon-carbon composites.