Stable spheromak formation by merging in an oblate flux conserver

Gray, T.; Brown, M. R.; Cothran, C. D.; Marklin, G.; Schaffer, M. J.
March 2010
Physics of Plasmas;Mar2010, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p032510
Academic Journal
An axisymmetric spheromak formed by the dynamic merging of two smaller spheromaks of the same magnetic helicity in the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) [M. R. Brown, Phys. Plasmas 6, 1717 (1999)] has been observed and characterized. The spheromak is formed in an oblate (tilt stable), trapezoidal, 6 mm wall copper flux conserver in SSX, which is 0.5 m in diameter and L=0.4 m in length at its largest dimensions. This configuration is formed by cohelicity merging of two spheromaks (either both right-handed or both left-handed) in which the merging poloidal fluxes are parallel (i.e., no field reversal for reconnection to occur initially). After a period of dynamic and nonaxisymmetric activity, the configuration ultimately relaxes to an axisymmetric state. A nonaxisymmetric tilted state, very close in total energy to the axisymmetric state, is also sometimes observed. This configuration is characterized by a suite of magnetic probe arrays for magnetic structure B(r,t), ion Doppler spectroscopy for Ti and flow, and interferometry for ne. The magnetic structures of both states match well to computed eigenstates.


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