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Title: Taylor-Couette flow of unmagnetized plasma

Differentially rotating flows of unmagnetized, highly conducting plasmas have been created in the Plasma Couette Experiment. Previously, hot-cathodes have been used to control plasma rotation by a stirring technique [C. Collins et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 115001 (2012)] on the outer cylindrical boundary—these plasmas were nearly rigid rotors, modified only by the presence of a neutral particle drag. Experiments have now been extended to include stirring from an inner boundary, allowing for generalized circular Couette flow and opening a path for both hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic experiments, as well as fundamental studies of plasma viscosity. Plasma is confined in a cylindrical, axisymmetric, multicusp magnetic field, with T{sub e} < 10 eV, T{sub i} < 1 eV, and n{sub e}<10{sup 11} cm{sup −3}. Azimuthal flows (up to 12 km/s, M = V∕c{sub s} ∼ 0.7) are driven by edge J × B torques in helium, neon, argon, and xenon plasmas, and the experiment has already achieved Rm ∼ 65 and Pm∼0.2−12. We present measurements of a self-consistent, rotation-induced, species-dependent radial electric field, which acts together with pressure gradient to provide the centripetal acceleration for the ions. The maximum flow speeds scale with the Alfvén critical ionization velocity, which occurs in partially ionized plasma. A hydrodynamic stability analysis in the context of the experimental geometry and achievable parametersmore » is also explored.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 (United States)
  2. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22253066
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ARGON; AXIAL SYMMETRY; CATHODES; COUETTE FLOW; CYLINDRICAL CONFIGURATION; ELECTRIC FIELDS; HELIUM; MAGNETIC FIELDS; NEON; NEUTRAL PARTICLES; PLASMA; PRESSURE GRADIENTS; STIRRING; XENON