Statistical analysis of the turbulent Reynolds stress and its link to the shear flow generation in a cylindrical laboratory plasma device

Yan, Z.; Yu, J. H.; Holland, C.; Xu, M.; Müller, S. H.; Tynan, G. R.
September 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Sep2008, Vol. 15 Issue 9, p092309
Academic Journal
The statistical properties of the turbulent Reynolds stress arising from collisional drift turbulence in a magnetized plasma column are studied and a physical picture of turbulent driven shear flow generation is discussed. The Reynolds stress peaks near the maximal density gradient region, and is governed by the turbulence amplitude and cross-phase between the turbulent radial and azimuthal velocity fields. The amplitude probability distribution function (PDF) of the turbulent Reynolds stress is non-Gaussian and positively skewed at the density gradient maximum. The turbulent ion-saturation (Isat) current PDF shows that the region where the bursty Isat events are born coincides with the positively skewed non-Gaussian Reynolds stress PDF, which suggests that the bursts of particle transport appear to be associated with bursts of momentum transport as well. At the shear layer the density fluctuation radial correlation length has a strong minimum (∼4–6 mm∼0.5Cs/Ωci, where Cs is the ion acoustic speed and Ωci is the ion gyrofrequency), while the azimuthal turbulence correlation length is nearly constant across the shear layer. The results link the behavior of the Reynolds stress, its statistical properties, generation of bursty radially going azimuthal momentum transport events, and the formation of the large-scale shear layer.


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