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HIVE – Heating by Induction to Verify Extremes

The Heat by Induction to Verify Extremes facility is a unique test platform that forms part of a suite of testing rigs and facilities located in UKAEA’s new Fusion Technology building, which opened at Culham in the autumn of 2022. Combined with the Fusion Technology Facility in Rotherham, these capabilities will support the advancement of commercialising fusion as a sustainable energy source, whilst also providing opportunities throughout the UK for industry collaboration.

HIVE is operated and managed by the Technology Development group within UKAEA’s Fusion Technology Business Unit, and can provide the following services:

  • Testing prototype cooled and un-cooled components under high heat fluxes in a high vacuum environment
  • Characterising high temperature behaviour of joining and coating techniques under thermal cycling
  • Validating thermomechanical, thermo-fluid and control systems modelling using multi-physics virtual engineering and digital twinning technology
  • Verifying concept designs which use advanced manufacturing technology, specifically to compare conventional and novel processes and materials
  • Demonstrating advanced diagnostic and instrumentation systems
  • Developing multi-disciplinary engineering talent through apprentice and graduate placement programs.
  • Providing versatile design for experiment experience and operational knowledge supporting high heat flux and advanced coolant test platforms.

HIVE is designed for both transient and steady state power pulses onto components, including an adaptable mounting system to support small 30 x 30 x 5 mm ‘tile’ geometries through to larger 120 x 120 x 80 mm prototype components. Supported sample assemblies are typically assessed on a case-by-case basis and a range of configurations can be accommodated. As standard HIVE includes:

  • 45 kW induction heating system
  • ~10-15 MW/m2 achievable heat flux (sample geometry dependent)
  • 65 VDC, 300A DC power supply alternative for resistance heating options
  • 1 x 10-7 mbar vacuum pressure
  • 200°C, 20 Bar and up to 80 L/min water coolant supply
  • 500 mm diameter vacuum vessel
  • Modularity to enable inclusion of third- party cooling skids through ‘plug-and-play’ ports
  • High performance diagnostics including IR cameras, pyrometers, and digital image correlation, through a range of viewports and viewing angles
  • EM Modelling and coil-sample matching

Due to HIVE’s broad range of capabilities, it can also be applied to alternative sectors outside of UKAEA and fusion. We have worked with partners spanning academia, research institutes and industry, including the space and aerospace sectors.

The Future

Having operated the HIVE facility for several years, and looking towards future expansion of the capability, the team are building on the HIVE facility’s current performance and design with the enhanced second generation of the facility. This new version will benefit from:

  • Enhanced performance
  • Higher heat fluxes
  • Allowance for larger samples and prototypes
  • Enhanced water coolant parameters
  • Increased diagnostic performance
  • Test to failure capability
  • Integration with advanced coolant loops
  • Validation and high cycle testing

This facility is in the detailed design phase and is due to become operational by mid 2025, the HIVE facility will run concurrently to its successor once it is operating.

HIVE The Future


If you would like to find out more, or have any queries please email

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