Image of the week
In the slow cooker
The thermostat is set at 140 °C and the timer on 72 hours. But contrary to the roasting of a Thanksgiving Turkey, the "curing" of the resin inside a poloidal field coil cannot be left unattended. More like the cooking of a soufflé, the operation requires constant attention and non-stop monitoring.
The curing phase is the last phase of the resin impregnation process. It is particularly delicate, as it aims to ensure the electrical insulation and rigidity of a coil before it is equipped and cold tested. In the on-site winding facility, poloidal field coils PF5 and PF2, both 17 metres in diameter, went through this process before. With poloidal field coil PF4, the process will be the same, except for the size of the component in question (24 metres in diameter) and the quantity of resin (2,700 litres) that needs to be injected and cured.
The curing process, which ensures the electrical insulation and rigidity of the coil, requires constant attention. Since resin impregnation began for PF4 two weeks ago, staff from the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy and its contractors have taken shifts to cover the 24/7 monitoring of the operation.
In the curing process, the resin that was injected in the coil at a temperature of 50 °C is heated to 140 °C by a strong electrical current fed to the conductors (the Joule effect) and by electrical resistances positioned around the mould. Since resin impregnation began for PF4 two weeks ago, staff from the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy and its contractors have taken shifts to cover the 24/7 monitoring of the operation.
The mould that contains the impregnated PF4 will be disassembled in mid-August and the coil moved to the assembly station in early September. Following final assembly and cold test operations, the finalized coil should be transferred to the ITER Organization before mid-2023.
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