Losses of heat and particles in the presence of strong magnetic field perturbations
Abstract (Summary)Thermonuclear fusion has potential to offer an economically, environmentally and socially acceptable supply of energy. A promising reactor design to execute thermonuclear fusion is the toroidal magnetic confinement device, tokamak. The tokamak still faces challenges in the major areas which can be categorised into confinement, heating and fusion technology. This thesis addresses the problem of confinement, in particular the role of transport along magnetic field lines perturbed by diverse MHD instabilities. Unstable modes such as ideal ballooning-peeling, tearing etc., break closed magnetic surfaces and destroy the axisymmetry of the magnetic configuration in a tokamak, providing deviation of magnetic field lines from unperturbed magnetic surfaces. Radial gradients of plasma parameters have nonzero projections along such lines and drive parallel particle and heat flows which contribute to the radial transport. Such transport can significantly affect confinement as this takes place by the development of neoclassical tearing modes (NTMs) in the core and edge localised modes (ELMs) at the plasma periphery. In this thesis, transport of heat through non-overlapped magnetic island chains is first investigated using the 'Optimal path' approach, which is based on the principal of minimum entropy production. This model shows how the effective heat conduction through islands increases with parallel heat conduction and with the perturbation level. A more standard analytical approach for the limit cases of "small" and "large" islands is also presented. Transport of heat through internally heated magnetic islands is next investigated by further development of the 'Optimal path' method. In addition the approach by R. Fitzpatrick, has been extended for this investigation. By application of these approaches to experimental observations made at TEXTOR tokamak, heat flux limit, limiting parallel heat conduction in low collisional plasmas, is elucidated. Models to study transport of heat and particles due to ELMs have also been developed. Energy losses during ELMs have been estimated considering contribution from parallel conduction due to electrons and parallel convection of ions, with constant level of the magnetic field perturbation, steady profiles for density and temperature, and by accounting for the heat flux limit. The estimate shows good agreement with experimental observations. The model is developed further by accounting for the time evolution of the perturbation level due to ballooning mode, and of density and temperature profiles.
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:tokamaks plasma physics
Date of Publication:01/20/2009