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Joachim Kofi Amoah and Robert Hetterich

Control-Oriented Predictive Transport Code for Tokamak Plasmas

Departments: Computer Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Eugenio Schuster

As research into alternative fuel sources progresses, options for confined nuclear fusion continue to be better understood. One of the most developed and well-researched fusion confinement devices is the tokamak. The tokamak is a device that uses magnetic fields to confine plasma to produce power from nuclear fusion reactions. Since fusion power is still in a developing stage, there are not many tokamaks available and controllers for tokamaks must first be rigorously tested in simulations. Being that controlling the plasma in a tokamak is one of the most challenging and important obstacles in tokamak research, having a fast and accurate simulation capability is very important for control design. In this work, a control-oriented predictive transport code for tokamak plasmas was developed in Matlab and then integrated into Simulink based on previously developed models. The purpose of this code was to be general enough to allow the users to easily simulate any controller that they might develop for any particular tokamak/plasma conditions. As part of the code development, several integration methods were developed for the partial differential equations governing the plasma transport dynamics. It is expected that the developed predictive simulation code, which is one of the first in its kind in the world, will keep augmenting its capabilities as additional plasma physics is incorporated in it.

About Joachim Kofi Amoah:
Joachim is a sophomore computer engineer at Lehigh University. Joachim is very interested in robotics and automation. As just a sample of this interest, Joachim wrote an Android application to remotely control radio-controlled vehicles. Joachim worked with Professor Schuster and Robert Hetterich developing Matlab/Simulink codes to simulate the plasma dynamics in several tokamak nuclear fusion devices around the world.

About Robert Hetterich:
Robert is a junior at Lehigh University pursuing degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Business through the Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) honors program, as well as a minor in physics. A Dean’s List student, Robert is an active member of Lehigh’s Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, 3D Printing Club, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and Lehigh’s Martindale Student Associates Program. Robert worked with Professor Schuster and Joachim Amoah throughout the summer of 2014 developing simulation code for the control of tokamak nuclear fusion reactors.