The RFP: Plasma Confinement with a Reversed Twist

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1 The RFP: Plasma Confinement with a Reversed Twist JOHN SARFF Department of Physics University of Wisconsin-Madison Invited Tutorial 1997 Meeting APS DPP Pittsburgh Nov. 19, 1997

2 A tutorial on the Reversed Field Pinch (RFP). Worldwide research on the RFP has been ongoing since 196 s when a quiet period observed in ZETA device plasmas was correlated with reversed toroidal field at the edge of the plasma. Although the integrated effort in RFP research is much smaller than for the tokamak or stellarator, the RFP program continues to make progress in key areas important to establishing the viability of the concept for fusion energy. This tutorial will focus on answering What s an RFP? advantages as a fusion concept important physics results Key theme: Role of magnetic turbulence in plasmas a laboratory in nonlinear MHD magnetic dynamo transport from magnetic fluctuations reducing transport using physics understanding

3 RFP magnetic equilibrium has large shear with toroidal field, B φ poloidal field, B θ. Toroidally axisymmetric, current-carrying plasma: ( r, θ, φ ) coordinates R = major radial poloidal θ R r Diffuse field and current: toroidal φ Bφ J φ B θ J θ Safety factor, radius, r reversal radius a Large magnetic shear, q(r) = rb φ RB θ = dφ dθ << 1 1 q dq dr q(r) Tokamak ~1 ~.2 RFP radius, r a

4 Smaller magnetic field makes the RFP conceptually compact, high power density fusion reactor. Key RFP reactor attributes: compact high beta β~1% high engineering beta (low field at plasma surface) low magnet forces, non-superconducting construction current disruption-free operation; soft density limit free choice of aspect ratio R/a Relative Major Physics & Engineering Challenges: Emphasis improving confinement & beta 1 conducting shell stabilization.1 large current drive requirement.5 large wall loading (high power density).1

5 Modest international RFP program 2. m RFX (Italy) 2 MA design, 1 MA to date Operating 1.5 m 1.24 m MST (UW-Madison).5 MA EXTRAP-T2 (Sweden).3 MA, formerly OHTE (GA) TPE-2M (Japan) <.1 MA, poloidal/toroidal divertor STE-2 (Japan) <.1 MA In Construction 1.7 m TPE-RX (Japan) 1 MA Most Recent Reactor Study 3.9 m TITAN 18 MA Past medium sized experiments: HBTX Series (Culham), ZT-4M (LANL), TPE Series (Japan), OHTE (GA), ETA-BETA-II (Italy), REPUTE (Japan)

6 Toroidal field reversal guarantees large shear necessary for ideal MHD stability. Ideal kink stability generally requires either no shear minima or q > 1 (Kruskal-Shafranov). Ideal interchange stability requires finite shear for q < 1 : destabilizing peaked pressure dp dr (1 q 2 r ) + B 2 φ 32π weak toroidicity in RFP (bad curvature) 1 q dq dr 2 > (Mercier criterion) stabilizing magnetic shear q(r) = rb φ RB θ Tokamak 1 Kruskal-Shafranov intermediate RFP radius, r dq dr = possible instability a Ideal MHD beta limit ~4% < observed beta 1-2%

7 An apparent mystery: how is an RFP sustained? A resistive, steady-state, axisymmetric reversed toroidal field equilibrium is not possible : Bφ J θ radius, r a reversal implies: ( B) θ = 1 R B r φ B φ r J θ, which for finite η E θ = B t φ ds (non steady-state) But in an RFP, field reversal is maintained as long as toroidal current is sustained ( E θ = ) : non-inductive poloidal current symmetry breaking turbulence The RFP dynamo

8 RFP seeks relaxed minimum energy state. A relaxed state is the minimum energy configuration of a finite resistance plasma subject to the global constraint of constant magnetic helcity [J.B. Taylor, PRL 33, 1139 (1974)]. magnetic helicity: K = V A BdV = constant of motion For a pressureless (force-free) plasma within a closed, perfectly conducting shell, relaxed states are : B = λb where λ = µ o J B/B 2 =constant in a cylinder: B φ = B o J o (λr) B θ = B o J 1 (λr) B(r) B o B φ ~ J (λr) B θ ~ J 1 (λr) r reversal occurs when aλ > 2.44 a 2(a/R) q() = aλ o λ = µ o J B / B 2 RFP experiment relaxed state r a

9 Discrete event dynamo illustrates tendency toward relaxed state. Sudden relaxation events result in toroidal flux generation discrete dynamo cycle I φ B φ MST 5 ms B φ (a) Time before after λ = J / B peaking from: (1) E B maximum on axis (2) current diffusion to hot core radius, r a

10 Resistive MHD provides a detailed theory for the RFP dynamo mechanism. Essential behavior captured in pressureless limit A = SV B ηj (Ohm s law) t V t = SV V + SJ B + ν 2 V S Key MHD parameter Lundquist number: = τ res / τ Alfven Turbulent V B = ηj E sustains required for B φ > : essential for conventional, Ohmically driven RFP. converts poloidal flux into toroidal flux. Nonlinear, resistive MHD computational demonstration of RFP sustainment : J θ 3 E = E φ B φ / B E φ = constant Parallel Ohm s Law 2 1 ηj V B radius, r less current more current

11 Resistive MHD tearing modes are the dominant turbulence in the RFP. Tearing modes k = m θ driven by at r ˆ + n φ R ˆ dλ dr q=m/n resonant surfaces (k B=). growth rate: γ ~ S α [ β B r / B r ] jump jump in the 1st derivative across resonant surface B r + F F + k 2 B r F F ~ B B ~ d J F k B dr B = d λ dr Tearing refers to the reconnection of magnetic field lines allowed by finite resistivity. changes magnetic field topology, exactly what is required for the RFP dynamo q=m/n W ~ B r / B resonant surface magnetic island

12 Although mode amplitudes only ~1%, island overlap produces global stochasticity. Mode amplitudes, spectrum, eigen-structure, etc. agree well with theory. (%) B (n) B n-spectrum MST B r,θ,φ B max Radial mode structure B φ B r B θ HBTX1A HBTX-1A n radius, r Close spacing of resonant surfaces encourages island overlap global stochasticity. q(r) 1,5 (m,n) 1,6 typical island width 1,7 magnetic stochasticity

13 Energy transport in the RFP results from magnetic fluctuations. Well known expectation for transport in a stationary, stochastic magnetic field (Rechester & Rosenbluth,1978) χ ~ v T L c ( B r / B) 2 v T = thermal velocity L c = parallel B correlation length Global power loss correlates strongly with fluctuation amplitude P Ω (MW) ~ χ global B 2 (G) MST Time (ms)

14 Closer examination finds surprises in nature of transport. Generally, magnetic-fluctuation-induced radial fluxes from parallel motion are : J B Γ r = nv r ˆ = J B r ˆ qb = r particles: qb Q r = Q r ˆ = Q B r ˆ = Q B r heat: B B Q = 1 2 mv2 v f (v)dv ( ) Probe measurements of J B r and magnetic-fluctuation-induced transport Q B r identify expected but with surprises: Q e 2 3 T eγ e (convective transport) Γ e,q e ~ v Ti ( B r / B) 2 (ambipolar constrained) convective, ambipolar magnetic transport can occur when local magnetic fluctuation is dominantly generated by modes resonant at distant radii (P.W. Terry et al.)

15 Controlled reduction of magnetic fluctuations best path to improved RFP confinement. Possible ways to reduce tearing fluctuations: natural S-scaling (larger, hotter plasmas have smaller B) active current profile J(r)-control (attack free energy) active feedback stabilization sheared flow (some experimental evidence) Natural S-scaling appears weaker at larger S = τ res / τ Alfven : best possible scaling if B ~ V ~ S 1 / 2 & Phase( V, B ) ~ S E + V B = S 1 J (dimensionless Ohm s law) weak scaling implies active fluctuation control 2 1 B rms / B (%) OHTE S.51 S.26 MST S = L / R τ A

16 Current profile control to reduce dynamo. Conventional RFP (MHD dynamo) Apply E φ peak λ = J / B m=1 tearing V B flatten dynamo λ = J / B heat & particle loss J(r)-controlled RFP (reduce dynamo) adjust Apply E φ + J θ drive λ = J / B minimize m=1 tearing reduce heat & particle loss

17 MHD Simulated Current Profile Control Demonstrates B Suppression Ad hoc parallel force added to Ohm s law to simulate generic poloidal current drive : A F a b ˆ t + ne = V B ηj J B B π with J(r)-control Standard RFP ad hoc force profile r/a Standard RFP log b B with J(r)-control n RFP with J(r)-Control 6π Nonlinear, 3D resistive MHD computation Standard RFP Stochastic Field φ Closed Flux Surfaces φ r / a r / a

18 Inductive J(r)-control improves energy confinement five-fold in MST. Methods for J(r)-control: inductive pulsed poloidal current drive (PPCD) electrostatic current injection (in progress) RF current drive (future) Fluctuation, Energy Confinement, Poloidal Beta, b rms B τ E β θ Conventional RFP PPCD 1.5%.5.8% 1 ms 5 5 ms 6% 1.5 9% E θ (a) (V/m) b rms 3 B 2 (%) 1 PPCD MST Time (ms) Apply poloidal E θ to drive edge current. Reduces Magnetic Fluctuation

19 What s the MHD optimized RFP? Current profile: steady-state via electrostatic and RF current drive are or will be tested. Pressure profile: need auxiliary heating to test beta limit (separate from transport) with improved energy confinement from current profile control, pressure is increasing pressure profile control Shape and aspect ratio: all but a couple of RFPs have been circular toroids all RFPs have R / a 3; at small aspect ratio, there are fewer resonant modes possibly better confinement or easier active control. shape:?? aspect ratio:.2 q(r) n=5 n=6 n=1.5 q(r) n=2 n=3 n=4

20 Summary RFP contributions to plasma science wide ranging: practical fusion power terrestrial laboratory for magnetic plasma dynamo behavior of plasmas with strong magnetic turbulence Practical fusion potential stems from low field, high beta: compact low magnet forces, non-superconducting disruption-free operation, & free choice of aspect ratio Conventional RFP requires a magnetic dynamo: nonlinear, resistive MHD success story consequent strong magnetic turbulence Understanding of fundamental processes reverses stigma relaxation = poor confinement current profile control to circumvent dynamo preserves and enhances attractive reactor features Online RFP bibliography, including RFP reviews: or search: Madison Symmetric Torus

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