Coronal mass ejections are solar eruptions driven by a sudden release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun’s corona. In many cases, this magnetic energy is stored in long-lived, arched structures called magnetic flux ropes. When a flux rope destabilizes, it can either erupt and produce a coronal mass ejection or fail and collapse back towards the Sun. The prevailing belief is that the outcome of a given event is determined by a magnetohydrodynamic force imbalance called the torus instability. This belief is challenged, however, by observations indicating that torus-unstable flux ropes sometimes fail to erupt. This contradiction has not yet been resolved because of a lack of coronal magnetic field measurements and the limitations of idealized numerical modelling. Here we report the results of a laboratory experiment that reveal a previously unknown eruption criterion below which torus-unstable flux ropes fail to erupt. We find that such ‘failed torus’ events occur when the guide magnetic field (that is, the ambient field that runs toroidally along the flux rope) is strong enough to prevent the flux rope from kinking. Under these conditions, the guide field interacts with electric currents in the flux rope to produce a dynamic toroidal field tension force that halts the eruption. This magnetic tension force is missing from existing eruption models, which is why such models cannot explain or predict failed torus events.
Measuring free-surface, liquid-metal flow velocity is challenging to do in a reliable and accurate manner. This paper presents a non-invasive, easily-calibrated method of measuring the surface velocities of open-channel liquid-metal flows using an IR camera. Unlike other spatially-limited methods, this IR camera particle tracking technique provides full field-of-view data that can be used to better understand open-channel flows and determine surface boundary conditions. This method could be implemented and automated for a wide range of liquid-metal experiments, even if they operate at high-temperatures or within strong magnetic fields.
Hvasta, M. G.; Dudt, D.; Fisher, A. E.; Kolemen, E.
A 'weighted magnetic bearing' has been developed to improve the performance of
rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters (RLFFs). Experiments have shown that the new bearing
reduces frictional losses within a double-sided, disc-style RLFF to negligible levels.
Operating such an RLFF under 'frictionless' conditions provides two major benefits.
First, the steady-state velocity of the RLFF magnets matches the average velocity of the
flowing liquid at low flow rates. This enables an RLFF to make accurate volumetric flow
measurements without any calibration or prior knowledge of the fluid properties. Second,
due to minimized frictional losses, an RLFF is able to measure low flow rates that cannot
be detected when conventional, high-friction bearings are used. This paper provides a
brief background on RLFFs, gives a detailed description of weighted magnetic bearings,
and compares experimental RLFF data to measurements taken with a commercially available
The Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) instability of magnetohydrodynamic surface waves at the low latitude boundary layer is examined using both an eigenfrequency analysis and a time-dependent wave simulation. The analysis includes the effects of sheared flow and Alfven velocity gradient. When the magnetosheath flows are perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field direction, unstable KH waves that propagate obliquely to the sheared flow direction occur at the sheared flow surface when the Alfv\'en Mach number is higher than an instability threshold. Including a shear transition layer between the magnetosphere and magnetosheath leads to secondary KH waves (driven by the sheared flow) that are coupled to the resonant surface Alfven wave. There are remarkable differences between the primary and the secondary KH waves including wave frequency, the growth rate, and the ratio between transverse and the compressional component. The secondary KH wave energy is concentrated near the shear Alfven wave frequency at the magnetosheath with a lower frequency than the primary KH waves. Although the growth rate of the secondary KH waves is lower than the primary KH waves, the threshold condition is lower, so it is expected that these types of waves will dominate at lower Mach number. Because the transverse component of the secondary KH waves is stronger than the primary KH waves, more efficient wave energy transfer from the boundary layer to the inner magnetosphere is also predicted.
Schwartz, Jacob A.; Ricks, Wilson; Kolemen, Egemen; Jenkins, Jesse D.
Fusion could be a part of future decarbonized electricity systems, but it will need to compete with other technologies.
In particular, pulsed tokamaks have a unique operational mode, and evaluating
which characteristics make them economically competitive can help select between design pathways.
Using a capacity expansion and operations model,
we determined cost thresholds for pulsed tokamaks to reach a range of penetration levels in a future decarbonized US Eastern Interconnection.
The required capital cost to reach a fusion capacity of 100 GW varied from $3000 to $7200/kW,
and the equilibrium penetration increases rapidly with decreasing cost.
The value per unit power capacity depends on the variable operational cost and on cost of its competition, particularly fission, much more than on the pulse cycle parameters.
These findings can therefore provide initial cost targets for fusion more generally in the United States.
Plasma-facing components (PFC's) made from solid materials may not be able to withstand the large heat and particle fluxes that will be produced within next-generation fusion reactors. To address the shortcomings of solid PFC's, a variety of liquid-metal (LM) PFC concepts have been proposed. Many of the suggested LM-PFC designs rely on electromagnetic restraint (Lorentz force) to keep free-surface, liquid-metal flows adhered to the interior surfaces of a fusion reactor. However, there is very little, if any, experimental data demonstrating that free-surface, LM-PFC's can actually be electromagnetically controlled. Therefore, in this study, electrical currents were injected into a free-surface liquid-metal that was flowing through a uniform magnetic field. The resultant Lorentz force generated within the liquid-metal affected the velocity and depth of the flow in a controllable manner that closely matched theoretical predictions. These results show the promise of electromagnetic control for LM-PFC's and suggest that electromagnetic control could be further developed to adjust liquid-metal nozzle output, prevent splashing within a tokamak, and alter heat transfer properties for a wide-range of liquid-metal systems.
Schwartz, J. A.; Emdee, E. D.; Jaworski, M. A; Goldston, R. J.
The lithium vapor box divertor is a concept for handling the extreme divertor heat fluxes in magnetic fusion devices. In a baffled slot divertor, plasma interacts with a dense cloud of Li vapor which radiates and cools the plasma, leading to recombination and detachment. Before testing on a tokamak the concept should be validated: we plan to study detachment and heat redistribution by a Li vapor cloud in laboratory experiments.
Mass changes and temperatures are measured to validate a Direct Simulation Monte Carlo model of neutral Li.
The initial experiment involves a 5 cm diameter steel box containing 10g of Li held at 650 degrees C as vapor flows out a wide nozzle into a similarly-sized box at a lower temperature. Diagnosis is made challenging by the required material compatibility with lithium vapor. Vapor pressure is a steep function of temperature, so to validate mass flow models to within 10%, absolute temperature to within 4.5K is required. The apparatus is designed to be used with an analytical balance to determine mass transport. Details of the apparatus and methods of temperature and mass flow measurements are presented.
An electron beam is detected by a 1D floating potential probe array in a relatively high density (10e12 − 10e13 cm−3) and low temperature (∼ 5 eV) plasma of the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX). Clear perturbations in the floating potential profile by the electron beam are observed. Based on the floating potential profile and a current balance equation to the probe array tips, the effective width of the electron beam is determined, from which we determine the radial and toroidal beam current density profiles. After the profile of the electron beam is specified from the measured beam current, we demonstrate the consistency of the current balance equation and the location of the perturbation is also in agreement with field line mapping. No significant broadening of the electron beam is observed after the beam propagates for tens of centimeters through the high density plasma. These results prove that the field line mapping is, in principle, possible in high density plasmas.
The lithium vapor-box divertor is a possible fusion power exhaust solution.It uses condensation pumping to create a gradient of vapor density in a divertor slot; this should allow a stable detachment front without active feedback.As initial explorations of the concept, two test stands which take the form of three connected cylindrical stainless steel boxes are being developed: one without plasma at PPPL, to test models of lithium evaporation and flow; and one for the linear plasma device Magnum-PSI (at DIFFER in Eindhoven, The Netherlands) to test the ability of a lithium vapor cloud to induce volumetric detachment and redistribute the plasma power.The first experiment uses boxes with diameters of 6 cm, joined by apertures with diameters of 2.2 cm. Up to 1 g of Li is placed in one box, which is heated to up to 600 degrees C. The Li evaporates, then flows to and condenses in the two other, cooler boxes over several minutes. The quantity of Li transported is assessed by weighing the boxes before and after the heating cycle, and is compared to the quantity predicted to flow for the box at its measured temperature using a Direct Simulation Monte Carlo code, SPARTA. With good experimental conditions, the two values agree to within 15%.The experiment on Magnum-PSI is in the conceptual design stage.The design is assessed by simulations using the code B2.5-Eunomia.They show that when the hydrogen-ion plasma beam, with n_e = 4e20 per cubic meter, T_e = 1.5 eV, and r = 1 cm, is passed through a 16 cm long, 12 Pa, 625 degree C Li vapor cloud, the plasma heat flux and pressure on the target are significantly reduced compared to the case without Li.With the Li present, the plasma is cooled by excitation of Li neutrals followed by radiation until it volumetrically recombines, lowering the heat flux from 3.7 MW/m^2 to 0.13 MW/m^2, and the pressure is reduced by 93%, largely by collisions of hydrogen ions with neutral Li.