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Title: A hybrid Rayleigh-Taylor-current-driven coupled instability in a magnetohydrodynamically collimated cylindrical plasma with lateral gravity

Here we present an MHD theory of Rayleigh-Taylor instability on the surface of a magnetically confined cylindrical plasma flux rope in a lateral external gravity field. The Rayleigh-Taylor instability is found to couple to the classic current-driven instability, resulting in a new type of hybrid instability that cannot be described by either of the two instabilities alone. The lateral gravity breaks the axisymmetry of the system and couples all azimuthal modes together. The coupled instability, produced by combination of helical magnetic field, curvature of the cylindrical geometry, and lateral gravity, is fundamentally different from the classic magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability occurring at a two-dimensional planar interface. The theory successfully explains the lateral Rayleigh-Taylor instability observed in the Caltech plasma jet experiment [Moser and Bellan, Nature 482, 379 (2012)]. Finally, potential applications of the theory include magnetic controlled fusion, solar emerging flux, solar prominences, coronal mass ejections, and other space and astrophysical plasma processes.
Authors:
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Applied Physics
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-04ER54755; SC0010471
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY
OSTI Identifier:
1468770
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1242862

Zhai, Xiang, and Bellan, Paul M. A hybrid Rayleigh-Taylor-current-driven coupled instability in a magnetohydrodynamically collimated cylindrical plasma with lateral gravity. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1063/1.4943896.
Zhai, Xiang, & Bellan, Paul M. A hybrid Rayleigh-Taylor-current-driven coupled instability in a magnetohydrodynamically collimated cylindrical plasma with lateral gravity. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4943896.
Zhai, Xiang, and Bellan, Paul M. 2016. "A hybrid Rayleigh-Taylor-current-driven coupled instability in a magnetohydrodynamically collimated cylindrical plasma with lateral gravity". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4943896. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1468770.
@article{osti_1468770,
title = {A hybrid Rayleigh-Taylor-current-driven coupled instability in a magnetohydrodynamically collimated cylindrical plasma with lateral gravity},
author = {Zhai, Xiang and Bellan, Paul M.},
abstractNote = {Here we present an MHD theory of Rayleigh-Taylor instability on the surface of a magnetically confined cylindrical plasma flux rope in a lateral external gravity field. The Rayleigh-Taylor instability is found to couple to the classic current-driven instability, resulting in a new type of hybrid instability that cannot be described by either of the two instabilities alone. The lateral gravity breaks the axisymmetry of the system and couples all azimuthal modes together. The coupled instability, produced by combination of helical magnetic field, curvature of the cylindrical geometry, and lateral gravity, is fundamentally different from the classic magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability occurring at a two-dimensional planar interface. The theory successfully explains the lateral Rayleigh-Taylor instability observed in the Caltech plasma jet experiment [Moser and Bellan, Nature 482, 379 (2012)]. Finally, potential applications of the theory include magnetic controlled fusion, solar emerging flux, solar prominences, coronal mass ejections, and other space and astrophysical plasma processes.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4943896},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = 3,
volume = 23,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {3}
}