As we prepare to use the tungsten electrodes for the first time, LPPFusion is also preparing for the final set of electrodes, to be made from beryllium. The tungsten electrodes, with their extreme resistance to heat, will allow the tests needed to pave the way for the use of beryllium, which is a much more resilient material and much better suited to sustain the high x-ray fluxes expected in the later stages of the experimental program.
LPPFusion has now succeeded, after many months of effort, in negotiating agreements with three companies to supply and machine the beryllium electrodes we need. Rev Manufacturing of Palmdale California will machine two anodes, one 10 cm long and one 7 cm long and Hardric Laboratories of North Chelmsford, Mass. will machine a single cathode, 10 cm tall which can be used with both anodes. The cylindrical beryllium billets for the parts will be supplied by Ulba Metallurgical Plant, a state-owned company in Kazakhstan. The total cost of the parts will be about $135,000, although this may be somewhat reduced with the final design of the cathode.
The strength of the 97.8 % pure beryllium, 44,000 psi, is guaranteed by the manufacturer and will be confirmed by independent tests. The design considerations inspired by our recent experience with tungsten did however lead to a much cheaper way to attach the beryllium to the steel, saving about $12,000.
Since beryllium is export controlled, permission from the US Department of Commerce will be needed to import this material, and has been applied for. Assuming that permissions will not be long delayed, the beryllium electrodes should be available in the fall of this year. Department of Commerce agents have already visited the LPPFusion laboratory to assure that beryllium would not be re-exported and have expressed satisfaction with LPP Fusion compliance.