The intention was to pre-build and test everything in virtual space before a single part was purchased.  SAFIRE is made up of a complex array of unique systems that need to be harmonized and synced together.  A single mistake in the design of any one system could cost a small fortune, enough to put the whole project in jeopardy.

It is a measure of the team's success that when all the real pieces arrive on site the assembly proceeds in truly remarkable time, weeks instead of months.  And when assembled the whole system is fired up and running as predicted within a few hours.

first firing up of SAFIRE

Everything learned in Phase One of SAFIRE (Proof of Concept ) is now applied to the Phase Two design, construction, commissioning, and first firing up of the full SAFIRE experiment.  

phase two

designing the lab

Long before the purchasing of materials, before the assembly and construction of the Phase Two laboratory, Monty designs the entire setup in virtual space, with software.

The composition and capacity of each element and material is studied and factored in.  Every single screw and washer is named.  There are 40,000 parts to be accounted for.

Virtual 3-D models are constructed using the same software and protocols used by NASA and Lockheed Martin.

Structural & electrical engineering, architecture, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computational sciences, photography ... all play an essential part.

OIPTS - Open Issues and Project Tracking

Montgomery Childs has developed a technique for managing complex projects like this.  Called OIPTS - Open Issues and Project Tracking, the system is so efficient it has been adopted by numerous large corporate entities such as Toyota, GM.

Melting of O Rings used to seal chamber feedthroughs

Thermal Stress on view ports

Thermal Expansion of materials causing stress

Thermal Effect on cameras

Electrical Discharge – erosion of materials

Electrical Discharge – deposition of materials

Electrical Chemical decomposition of materials

Molecular Solubility

What temperatures are we dealing with?

How long will it take to reach these temperatures?

How do we limit thermal heating of the chamber?

What are the thermal limitations of the gaskets?

How do we limit thermal heating of view ports?

What are the effects of thermal expansion?

What are the thermal limitations of the camera and lenses?

What materials can survive in the plasma without being vaporized?

How can we stabilize chamber pressure during thermal expansion?

What about Molecular Solubility?

What about fatigue life?

What about video dynamic range?

4K digital video camera recording through sapphire view port

potential failure modes

Software solid modelers (see below for examples) are run to determine where there will be problems.  Lists of potential failure modes are drawn up.  Using the solid modelers problems are solved in virtual space long before a single piece of hardware is purchased.

Computational Fluid Dynamics analyses is a Software Solid Modeler.

CFD uses proven applied mathematical equations and algorithms to evaluate the effects of various interacting and non interacting factors affecting fluids, gases and materials.

CFD results include thermal gradient mapping, fluid and gas flow, pressure, pressure drop, radiation effects, heat loss, material optimization, flow optimization, velocity as a result of radiation and thermal convection and much more .

Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis - sample images

Finite Element Analysis is a Software Solid Modeler.

FEA uses proven applied mathematical equations and algorithms to evaluate the affects of various interacting forces affecting structures, materials and mechanisms.

FEA results are used in design optimization, fatigue analysis, predicting structural failures and much more.

Finite Element Analysis - sample images

Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis can give remarkably detailed feedback.