Thermonuclear reaction waves at high densities

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118 Citations (Scopus)


The initiation, development, and propagation of thermonuclear reaction waves in a solid density deuterium-tritium plasma are presented. Physical effects due to thermonuclear reactions, heat conduction, electron-ion equilibration, bremsstrahlung, and fluid dynamics are contained in the analysis. The qualitative behavior of the physical variables is discussed and solutions of the equations are obtained by employing finite difference numerical techniques. Due to plasma properties and the form of the fusion reaction cross section, important differences exist between fusion and chemical detonation waves. Threshold ignition energy is found for simple geometries and the complete history of the development of the wave is studied. The structure of a fully developed fusion reaction wave is presented. Finally, the thermonuclear energy yield from small D-T pellets is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1972

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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