Spike morphology in blast-wave-driven instability experiments

Kuranz, C. C.; Drake, R. P.; Grosskopf, M. J.; Fryxell, B.; Budde, A.; Hansen, J. F.; Miles, A. R.; Plewa, T.; Hearn, N.; Knauer, J.
May 2010
Physics of Plasmas;May2010, Vol. 17 Issue 5, p052709
Academic Journal
The laboratory experiments described in the present paper observe the blast-wave-driven Rayleigh–Taylor instability with three-dimensional (3D) initial conditions. About 5 kJ of energy from the Omega laser creates conditions similar to those of the He–H interface during the explosion phase of a supernova. The experimental target is a 150 μm thick plastic disk followed by a low-density foam. The plastic piece has an embedded, 3D perturbation. The basic structure of the pattern is two orthogonal sine waves where each sine wave has an amplitude of 2.5 μm and a wavelength of 71 μm. In some experiments, an additional wavelength is added to explore the interaction of modes. In experiments with 3D initial conditions the spike morphology differs from what has been observed in other Rayleigh–Taylor experiments and simulations. Under certain conditions, experimental radiographs show some mass extending from the interface to the shock front. Current simulations show neither the spike morphology nor the spike penetration observed in the experiments. The amount of mass reaching the shock front is analyzed and potential causes for the spike morphology and the spikes reaching the shock are discussed. One such hypothesis is that these phenomena may be caused by magnetic pressure, generated by an azimuthal magnetic field produced by the plasma dynamics.


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