Schwartz, Jacob; Emdee, Eric; Goldston, Robert; Jaworski, Michael
The lithium vapor box divertor is a potential solution for power exhaust in toroidal confinement devices. The divertor plasma interacts with a localized, dense cloud of lithium vapor, leading to volumetric radiation, cooling, recombination, and detachment. To minimize contamination of the core plasma, lithium vapor is condensed on cool (300°C to 400°C) baffles upstream of the detachment point. Before implementing this in a toroidal plasma device with a slot divertor geometry, we consider an experiment with a scaled baffled-pipe geometry in the high-power linear plasma device Magnum-PSI. Three 15 cm-scale open cylinders joined by 6 cm diameter ‘nozzles’ are positioned on the plasma beam axis upstream of a target. The central box may be loaded with several tens of grams of lithium, which can be evaporated at 650°C to produce a vapor predicted, using a simple plasma-neutral interaction model, to be dense enough to cause volumetric detachment in the plasma. The power delivered to the target and box walls as measured by increases in their temperatures after a 10 s plasma pulse can be compared to determine the effectiveness of the vapor in detaching the plasma. Direct Simulation Monte Carlo simulations are performed to estimate the flow rates of lithium vapor between the boxes and to estimate the trapping of H2 delivered by the plasma in the boxes, which could inadvertently lead to detachment. Details of the geometry, simulations, and possible diagnostic techniques are presented.
F. M. Laggner, A. Diallo, B. P. LeBlanc, R. Rozenblat, G. Tchilinguirian, E.Kolemen, the NSTX-U team
A detailed description of a prototype setup for real-time (rt) Thomson scattering (TS) analysis is presented and implemented in the multi-point Thomson scattering (MPTS) diagnostic system at the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade(NSTX-U). The data acquisition hardware was upgraded with rt capable electronics (rt-analog digital converters (ADCs) and a rt server) that allow for fast digitization of the laser pulse signal of eight radial MPTS channels. In addition, a new TS spectrum analysis software for a rapid calculation of electron temperature (Te) and electron density (ne) was developed. Testing of the rt hardware and data analysis soft-ware was successfully completed and benchmarked against the standard, post-shot evaluation. Timing tests were performed showing that the end-to-end processing time was reproducibly below 17 ms for the duration of at least 5 s, meeting a 60 Hz deadline by the laser pulse repetition rate over the length of a NSTX-U discharge. The presented rt framework is designed to be scalable in system size, i.e. incorporation of additional radial channels by solely adding additional rt capable hardware. Furthermore, it is scalable in its operation duration and was continuously run for up to 30 min, making it an attractive solution for machines with long discharge duration such as advanced, non-inductive tokamaks or stellarators.
Experiments and predictions of surface wave damping in liquid metal due to a surface aligned magnetic field and externally regulated j × B force are presented. Fast-flowing, liquid-metal plasma facing components (LM-PFCs) are a proposed alternative to solid PFCs that are unable to handle the high heat flux, thermal stresses, and radiation damage in a tokamak. The significant technical challenges associated with LM-PFCs compared to solid PFCs are justified by greater heat flux management, self-healing properties, and reduced particle recycling. However, undesirable engineering challenges such as evaporation and splashing of the liquid metal introduce excessive impurities into the plasma and degrade plasma performance. Evaporation may be avoided through high-speed flow that limits temperature rise of the liquid metal by reducing heat flux exposure time, but as flow speed increases the surface may become more turbulent and prone to splashing and uneven surfaces. Wave damping is one mechanism that reduces surface disturbance and thus the chances of liquid metal impurity introduction into the plasma. Experiments on the Liquid Metal eXperiment Upgrade (LMX-U) examined damping under the influence of transverse magnetic fields and vertically directed Lorentz force.
Explosive volcanic eruptions have large climate impacts, and can serve as observable tests of the climatic response to radiative forcing. Using a high resolution climate model, we contrast the climate responses to Pinatubo, with symmetric forcing, and those to Santa Maria and Agung, which had meridionally asymmetric forcing. Although Pinatubo had larger global-mean forcing, asymmetric forcing strongly shifts the latitude of tropical rainfall features, leading to larger local precipitation/TC changes. For example, North Atlantic TC activity over is enhanced/reduced by SH-forcing (Agung)/NH-forcing (Santa Maria), but changes little in response to the Pinatubo forcing. Moreover, the transient climate sensitivity estimated from the response to Santa Maria is 20% larger than that from Pinatubo or Agung. This spread in climatic impacts of volcanoes needs to be considered when evaluating the role of volcanoes in global and regional climate, and serves to contextualize the well-observed response to Pinatubo.
Employment of non-inductive plasma start-up techniques would considerably simplify the design of a spherical tokamak fusion reactor. Transient coaxial helicity injection (CHI) is a promising method, expected to scale favorably to next-step reactors. However, the implications of reactor-relevant parameters on the initial breakdown phase for CHI have not yet been considered. Here, we evaluate CHI breakdown in reactor-like configurations using an extension of the Townsend avalanche theory. We find that a CHI electrode concept in which the outer vessel wall is biased to achieve breakdown, while previously successful on NSTX and HIT-II, may exhibit a severe weakness when scaled up to a reactor. On the other hand, concepts which employ localized biasing electrodes such as those used in QUEST would avoid this issue. Assuming that breakdown can be successfully attained, we then apply scaling relationships to predict plasma parameters attainable in the transient CHI discharge. Assuming the use of 1 Wb of injector flux, we find that plasma currents of 1 MA should be achievable. Furthermore, these plasmas are expected to Ohmically self-heat with more than 1 MW of power as they decay, facilitating efficient hand-off to steady-state heating sources. These optimistic scalings are supported by TSC simulations.
Since 1850 the concentration of atmospheric methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas, has more than doubled. Recent studies suggest that emission inventories may be missing sources and underestimating emissions. To investigate whether offshore oil and gas platforms leak CH4 during normal operation, we measured CH4 mole fractions around eight oil and gas production platforms in the North Sea which were neither flaring gas nor off-loading oil. We use the measurements from summer 2017, along with meteorological data, in a Gaussian plume model to estimate CH4 emissions from each platform. We find CH4 mole fractions of between 11 and 370 ppb above background concentrations downwind of the platforms measured, corresponding to a median CH4 emission of 6.8 g CH4 s-1 for each platform, with a range of 2.9 to 22.3 g CH4 s-1. When matched to production records, during our measurements individual platforms lost between 0.04% and 1.4% of gas produced with a median loss of 0.23%. When the measured platforms are considered collectively, (i.e. the sum of platforms’ emission fluxes weighted by the sum of the platforms’ production), we estimate the CH4 loss to be 0.19% of gas production. These estimates are substantially higher than the emissions most recently reported to the National Atmospheric Emission Inventory (NAEI) for total CH4 loss from United Kingdom platforms in the North Sea. The NAEI reports CH4 losses from the offshore oil and gas platforms we measured to be 0.13% of gas production, with most of their emissions coming from gas flaring and offshore oil loading, neither of which were taking place at the time of our measurements. All oil and gas platforms we observed were found to leak CH4 during normal operation and much of this leakage has not been included in UK emission inventories. Further research is required to accurately determine total CH4 leakage from all offshore oil and gas operations and to properly include the leakage in national and international emission inventories.
Spontaneous multi-keV electron generation in a low-RF-power axisymmetric mirror machine
X-ray emission shows the existence of multi-keV electrons in low-temperature, low-power, capacitively-coupled RF-heated magnetic-mirror plasmas that also contain a warm (300 eV) minority electron population. Though these warm electrons are initially passing particles, we suggest that collisionless scattering -- mu non-conservation in the static vacuum field -- is responsible for a minority of them to persist in the mirror cell for thousands of transits during which time a fraction are energized to a characteristic temperature of 3 keV, with some electrons reaching energies above 30 keV. A heuristic model of the heating by a Fermi-acceleration-like mechanism is presented, with mu non-conservation in the static vacuum field as an essential feature.
An optimization approach that incorporates the predictive transport code TRANSP is proposed for tokamak scenario development. Optimization methods are often employed to develop open-loop control strategies to aid access to high performance tokamak scenarios. In general, the optimization approaches use control-oriented models, i.e. models that are reduced in complexity and prediction accuracy as compared to physics-oriented transport codes such as TRANSP. In the presented approach, an optimization procedure using the TRANSP code to simulate the tokamak plasma is considered for improved predictive capabilities. As a test case, the neutral beam injection (NBI) power is optimized to develop a control strategy that maximizes the non-inductive current fraction during the ramp-up phase for NSTX-U. Simulation studies towards the achievement of non-inductive ramp up in NSTX-U have already been carried out with the TRANSP code. The optimization-based approach proposed in this work is used to maximize the non-inductive current fraction during ramp-up in NSTX-U, demonstrating that the scenario development task can be automated. An additional test case considers optimization of the current ramp rate in DIII-D for obtaining a stationary plasma characterized by
a flat loop voltage profile in the flattop phase.
Zweben SJ, Myra JR, Diallo A, Russell DA, Scotti F, Stotler DP
Transient small-scale structures were identified in the wake of blobs movingpoloidally through the SOL of high-powered H-mode plasmas in NSTX, using the gaspuff imaging (GPI) diagnostic. These blob wakes had a poloidal wavelength in therange 3.5 cm, which is significantly smaller than the average blob scale of~12 cm, and the wakes had a poloidal velocity of 1.5 km/sec in theelectron diamagnetic direction, which is opposite to the blob poloidal velocity inthese shots. These wakes were radially localized 0-4 cm outside the separatrix andoccurred within ~50 microsec after the passage of a blob through the GPI field of view.The clearest wakes were seen when the GPI viewing angle was well aligned with thelocal B field line, as expected for such small-scale structures given the diagnosticgeometry. A plausible theoretical interpretation of the wakes is discussed: theobserved wakes share some features of drift waves and/or drift-Alfven waves whichcould be excited
The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission has given us unprecedented access to high cadence particle and field data of magnetic reconnection at Earth's magnetopause. MMS first passed very near an X-line on 16 October 2015, the Burch event, and has since observed multiple X-line crossings. Subsequent 3D particle-in-cell (PIC) modeling efforts of and comparison with the Burch event have revealed a host of novel physical insights concerning magnetic reconnection, turbulence induced particle mixing, and secondary instabilities. In this study, we employ the Gkeyll simulation framework to study the Burch event with different classes of extended, multi-fluid magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), including models that incorporate important kinetic effects, such as the electron pressure tensor, with physics-based closure relations designed to capture linear Landau damping. Such fluid modeling approaches are able to capture different levels of kinetic physics in global simulations and are generally less costly than fully kinetic PIC. We focus on the additional physics one can capture with increasing levels of fluid closure refinement via comparison with MMS data and existing PIC simulations. In particular, we find that the ten-moment model well captures the agyrotropic structure of the pressure tensor in the vicinity of the X-line and the magnitude of anisotropic electron heating observed in MMS and PIC simulations. However, the ten-moment model has difficulty resolving the lower hybrid drift instability, which has been observed to plays a fundamental role in heating and mixing electrons in the current layer.