Guttenfelder W.; S.M. Kaye; Y. Ren; W. Solomon; R.E. Bell; J. Candy; S.P. Gerhardt; B.P. LeBlanc; H. Yuh
This paper presents quasi-linear gyrokinetic predictions of the Coriolis momentum pinch for low aspect-ratio NSTX H-modes where previous experimental measurements were focused. Local, linear calculations predict that in the region of interest (just outside the mid-radius) of these relatively high-beta plasmas, profiles are most unstable to microtearing modes that are only effective in transporting electron energy. However, sub-dominant electromagnetic and electrostatic ballooning modes are also unstable, which are effective at transporting energy, particles and momentum. The quasi-linear prediction of transport from these weaker ballooning modes, assuming they contribute transport in addition to that from microtearing modes in a nonlinear turbulent state, leads to a very small or outward convection of momentum, inconsistent with the experimentally measured inward pinch, and opposite to predictions in conventional aspect ratio tokamaks. Additional predictions of a low beta L-mode plasma, unstable to more traditional electrostatic ion temperature gradient-trapped electron mode instability, show that the Coriolis pinch is inward but remains relatively weak and insensitive to many parameter variations. The weak or outward pinch predicted in NSTX plasmas appears to be at least partially correlated to changes in the parallel mode structure that occur at finite beta and low aspect ratio, as discussed in previous theories. The only conditions identified where a stronger inward pinch is predicted occur either in the purely electrostatic limit or if the aspect ratio is increased. As the Coriolis pinch cannot explain the measured momentum pinch, additional theoretical momentum transport mechanisms are discussed that may be potentially important.