101,469 research outputs found

    Magnetothermodynamics In SSX: Measuring The Equations Of State Of A Compressible Magnetized Plasma

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    Magnetothermodynamics is the study of compression and expansion of magnetized plasma with an eye toward identifying equations of state (EOSs) for magneto-inertial fusion experiments. We present recent results from Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) experiments on the thermodynamics of compressed magnetized plasmas called Taylor states. In these experiments, we generate twisted flux ropes of magnetized, relaxed plasma accelerated from one end of a 1.5-m-long copper flux conserver and observe their compression in a closed conducting boundary installed at the other end. Plasma parameters are measured during compression. The instances of ion heating during compression are identified by constructing a pressure-volume diagram using measured density, temperature, and volume of the magnetized plasma. While we only measure compression up to 30%, we speculate that if higher compression ratios could be achieved, the compressed Taylor states could form the basis of a new kind of fusion engine. The theoretically predicted magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) and double-adiabatic [Chew-Goldberger-Low (CGL)] EOSs are compared to experimental measurements to estimate the adiabatic nature of the compressed plasma. Since our magnetized plasmas relax to an equilibrium described by MHD, one might expect their thermodynamics to be governed by the corresponding EOS. However, we find that the MHD EOS is not supported by our data. Our results are more consistent with the parallel CGL EOS suggesting that these weakly collisional plasmas have most of their proton energy in the direction parallel to the magnetic field

    Circumferential pressure distributions in a model labyrinth seal

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    A research program to isolate and study leakage flow through labyrinth glands was initiated. Circumferential pressure distributions were measured in the labyrinth glands with geometry appropriate to the high pressure labyrinths in large steam turbines. Knowledge of this pressure distribution is essential as it is this unequal pressure field that results in the destabilizing force. Parameters that are likely to affect the pressure distributions are incorporated into the test rig. Some preliminary pressure profiles are presented

    Simple, high current LaB_6 cathode

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    A cathode constructed of a thin, directly heated strip of LaB_6 is described. The cathode is simple to construct, requires modest heating power, has high current emission capability and is quite rugged. Construction details will be given and cathode performance data presented. The cathode has been used in tokamak dc current injection experiments

    Motion and equilibrium of a spheromak in a toroidal flux conserver

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    A number of experiments have been performed on spheromaks injected into the empty vacuum vessel of the Caltech ENCORE tokamak (i.e., without tokamak plasma) [Phys. Rev. Lett. 64, 2144 (1990); Phys. Fluids B 2, 1306 (1990)]. Magnetic probe arrays (in a number of configurations) have been used to make single shot, unaveraged, in situ measurements of the spheromak equilibrium. These measurements are important because (i) they reveal for the first time the equilibrium structure of spheromaks in a toroidal geometry, (ii) they provide a reliable estimate of magnetic helicity and energy of spheromak plasmas used in injection experiments [Phys. Rev. Lett. 64, 2144 (1990)], and (iii) they constitute the first measurements of spheromak motion across and interaction with static magnetic fields (which are useful in corroborating recent theories). Probe measurements in the tokamak dc toroidal field show for the first time that the spheromak exhibits a ``double tilt.''The spheromak first tilts while in the cylindrical entrance region, emerging into the tokamak vessel antialigned to the dc toroidal field, then expands into the tokamak vacuum vessel, and finally tilts again to form an oblate (nonaxisymmetric, m=1) configuration. In addition, the spheromak drifts vertically in the direction given by Jcenter×Btok, where Jcenter is the unbalanced poloidal current that threads the center of the spheromak torus. Probe arrays at different toroidal locations show that the spheromak shifts toroidally (horizontally left or right) in the direction opposite that of the static toroidal field. In the absence of toroidal flux, the m=1 object develops a helical pitch, the sense of the pitch depending on the sign of the spheromak helicity. The spheromak equilibrium in the toroidal vessel is well fit by a pressureless infinite cylindrical model; however, there is evidence of deviation from m=1 symmetry because of toroidal effects, nonuniform J/B profile, and finite beta. Experiments performed in a test facility consisting of the spheromak gun and a replica of the entrance region (with a closed end) show that the spheromak is generated with its axis coaxial with that of the gun. Coherent, m=2 magnetic modes are observed during the formation stage rotating in the E×B direction at about 125 kHz (rotation velocity corresponding to 40% of the Alfvén speed)
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