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High Performance Plasmas on the National Spherical Torus Experiment

Description: The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has produced toroidal plasmas at low aspect ratio (A = R/a = 0.86 m/0.68 m approximately equal to 1.3, where R is the major radius and a is the minor radius of the torus) with plasma currents of 1.4 MA. The rapid development of the machine has led to very exciting physics results during the first full year of physics operation. Pulse lengths in excess of 0.5 sec have been obtained with inductive current drive. Up to 4 MW of High Harmonic Fast Wave (HHFW) heating power has been applied with 6 MW planned. Using only 2 MW of HHFW heating power clear evidence of electron heating is seen with HHFW, as observed by the multi-point Thomson scattering diagnostic. A noninductive current drive concept known as Coaxial Helicity Injection (CHI) has driven 260 kA of toroidal current. Neutral-beam heating power of 5 MW has been injected. Plasmas with beta toroidal (= 2 mu(subscript ''0'')<p>/B(superscript ''2'') = a measure of magnetic confinement efficiency ) of 22% have been achieved, as calculated using the EFIT equilibrium reconstruction code. Beta-limiting phenomena have been observed, and the maximum beta toroidal scales with I(subscript ''p'')/aB(subscript ''t''). High frequency (>MHz) magnetic fluctuations have been observed. High-confinement mode plasmas are observed with confinement times of >100 msec. Beam-heated plasmas show energy confinement times in excess of those predicted by empirical scaling expressions. Ion temperatures in excess of 2.0 keV have been measured, and power balance suggests that the power loss from the ions to the electrons may exceed the calculated classical input power to the ions.
Date: July 10, 2001
Creator: Gates, D.A.; Bell, M.G.; Bell, R.E.; Bialek, J.; Bigelow, T.; Bitter, M. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Recent Progress on the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX)

Description: Recent upgrades to the NSTX facility have led to improved plasma performance. Using 5MW of neutral beam injection, plasmas with toroidal {beta}{sub T} (= 2{micro}{sub 0}<p>/B{sub T}{sup 2} where B{sub T} is the vacuum toroidal field at the plasma geometric center) > 30% have been achieved with normalized {beta}{sub N} (= {beta}{sub T}aB{sub I}/I{sub p}) {approx} 6% {center_dot} m {center_dot} T/MA.. The highest {beta} discharge exceeded the calculated no-wall {beta} limit for several wall times. The stored energy has reached 390kJ at higher toroidal field (0.55T) corresponding to {beta}{sub T} {approx} 20% and {beta}{sub N} = 5.4. Long pulse ({approx}1s) high {beta}{sub p} ({approx}1.5) discharges have also been obtained at higher {beta}{sub {phi}} (0.5T) with up to 6MW NBI power. The highest energy confinement times, up to 120ms, were observed during H-mode operation which is now routine. Confinement times of {approx}1.5 times ITER98pby2 for several {tau}{sub E} are observed during both H-Mode and non-H-Mode discharges. Calculations indicate that many NSTX discharges have very good ion confinement, approaching neoclassical levels. High Harmonic Fast Wave current drive has been demonstrated by comparing discharges with waves launched parallel and anti-parallel to the plasma current.
Date: July 2, 2002
Creator: Gates, D. A.; Bell, M. G.; Bell, R. E.; Bialek, J.; Bigelow, T.; Bitter, M. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) Research Program and Progress Towards High Beta, Long Pulse Operating Scenarios

Description: A major research goal of the National Spherical Torus Experiment is establishing long-pulse, high-beta, high-confinement operation and its physics basis. This research has been enabled by facility capabilities developed over the last two years, including neutral-beam (up to 7 MW) and high-harmonic fast-wave heating (up to 6 MW), toroidal fields up to 6 kG, plasma currents up to 1.5 MA, flexible shape control, and wall preparation techniques. These capabilities have enabled the generation of plasmas with <beta {sub T}> up to 35%. Normalized beta values often exceed the no wall limit, and studies suggest that passive wall mode stabilization is enabling this for broad pressure profiles characteristic of H-mode plasmas. The viability of long, high bootstrap-current fraction operations has been established for ELMing H-mode plasmas with toroidal beta values in excess of 15% and sustained for several current relaxation times. Improvements in wall conditioning and fueling are likely contributing to a reduction in H-mode power thresholds. Electron thermal conduction is the dominant thermal loss channel in auxiliary-heated plasmas examined thus far. High-harmonic fast-wave (HHFW) effectively heats electrons, and its acceleration of fast beam ions has been observed. Evidence for HHFW current drive is by comparing of the loop voltage evolution in plasmas with matched density and temperature profiles but varying phases of launched HHFW waves. A peak heat flux of 10 MW/m superscript ''2'' has been measured in the H-mode, with large asymmetries in the power deposition being observed between the inner and outer strike points. Noninductive plasma start-up studies have focused on coaxial helicity injection. With this technique, toroidal currents up to 400 kA have been driven, and studies to assess flux closure and coupling to other current-drive techniques have begun.
Date: October 15, 2002
Creator: Synakowski, E. J.; Bell, M. G.; Bell, R. E.; Bigelow, T.; Bitter, M.; Blanchard, W. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Progress Towards High Performance, Steady-state Spherical Torus

Description: Research on the Spherical Torus (or Spherical Tokamak) is being pursued to explore the scientific benefits of modifying the field line structure from that in more moderate aspect-ratio devices, such as the conventional tokamak. The Spherical Tours (ST) experiments are being conducted in various U.S. research facilities including the MA-class National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) at Princeton, and three medium-size ST research facilities: Pegasus at University of Wisconsin, HIT-II at University of Washington, and CDX-U at Princeton. In the context of the fusion energy development path being formulated in the U.S., an ST-based Component Test Facility (CTF) and, ultimately a Demo device, are being discussed. For these, it is essential to develop high-performance, steady-state operational scenarios. The relevant scientific issues are energy confinement, MHD stability at high beta (B), noninductive sustainment, ohmic-solenoid-free start-up, and power and particle handling. In the confinement area, the NSTX experiments have shown that the confinement can be up to 50% better than the ITER-98-pby2 H-mode scaling, consistent with the requirements for an ST-based CTF and Demo. In NSTX, CTF-relevant average toroidal beta values bT of up to 35% with the near unity central betaT have been obtained. NSTX will be exploring advanced regimes where bT up to 40% can be sustained through active stabilization of resistive wall modes. To date, the most successful technique for noninductive sustainment in NSTX is the high beta-poloidal regime, where discharges with a high noninductive fraction ({approx}60% bootstrap current + neutral-beam-injected current drive) were sustained over the resistive skin time. Research on radio-frequency-based heating and current drive utilizing HHFW (High Harmonic Fast Wave) and EBW (Electron Bernstein Wave) is also pursued on NSTX, Pegasus, and CDX-U. For noninductive start-up, the Coaxial Helicity Injection (CHI), developed in HIT/HIT-II, has been adopted on NSTX to test the method up to Ip {approx} ...
Date: October 2, 2003
Creator: Ono, M.; Bell, M.G.; Bell, R.E.; Bigelow, T.; Bitter, M.; Blanchard, W. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Status and Plans for the National Spherical Torus Experimental Research Facility

Description: An overview of the research capabilities and the future plans on the MA-class National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) at Princeton is presented. NSTX research is exploring the scientific benefits of modifying the field line structure from that in more conventional aspect ratio devices, such as the tokamak. The relevant scientific issues pursued on NSTX include energy confinement, MHD stability at high beta, non-inductive sustainment, solenoid-free start-up, and power and particle handling. In support of the NSTX research goal, research tools are being developed by the NSTX team. In the context of the fusion energy development path being formulated in the US, an ST-based Component Test Facility (CTF) and, ultimately a high beta Demo device based on the ST, are being considered. For these, it is essential to develop high performance (high beta and high confinement), steady-state (non-inductively driven) ST operational scenarios and an efficient solenoid-free start-up concept. We will also briefly describe the Next-Step-ST (NSST) device being designed to address these issues in fusion-relevant plasma conditions.
Date: July 27, 2005
Creator: Columbia University
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department