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Title: Simulating the Effects of Stellarator Geometry on Gyrokinetic Drift-Wave Turbulence
Authors: Baumgaertel, Jessica Ann
Advisors: Hammett, Gregory W
Mikkelsen, David R
Contributors: Plasma Physics Department
Keywords: Drift waves
Subjects: Plasma physics
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Nuclear fusion is a clean, safe form of energy with abundant fuel. In magnetic fusion energy (MFE) experiments, the plasma fuel is confined by magnetic fields at very high temperatures and densities. One fusion reactor design is the non-axisymmetric, torus-shaped stellarator. Its fully-3D fields have advantages over the simpler, better-understood axisymmetric tokamak, including the ability to optimize magnetic configurations for desired properties, such as lower transport (longer confinement time). Turbulence in the plasma can break MFE confinement. While turbulent transport is known to cause a significant amount of heat loss in tokamaks, it is a new area of research in stellarators. Gyrokinetics is a good mathematical model of the drift-wave instabilities that cause turbulence. Multiple gyrokinetic turbulence codes that had great success comparing to tokamak experiments are being converted for use with stellarator geometry. This thesis describes such adaptations of the gyrokinetic turbulence code, GS2. Herein a new computational grid generator and upgrades to GS2 itself are described, tested, and benchmarked against three other gyrokinetic codes. Using GS2, detailed linear studies using the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX) geometry were conducted. The first compares stability in two equilibria with different beta=(plasma pressure)/(magnetic pressure). Overall, the higher beta case was more stable than the lower beta case. As high beta is important for MFE experiments, this is encouraging. The second compares NCSX linear stability to a tokamak case. NCSX was more stable with a 20% higher critical temperature gradient normalized by the minor radius, suggesting that the fusion power might be enhanced by about 50%. In addition, the first nonlinear, non-axisymmetric GS2 simulations are presented. Finally, linear stability of two locations in a W7-AS plasma were compared. The experimentally-measured parameters used were from a W7-AS shot in which measured heat fluxes match neoclassical theory predictions at inner radii, but are too large for neoclassical predictions at outer radii. Results from GS2 linear simulations show that the outer location has higher gyrokinetic instability growth rates than at the inner one. Mixing-length estimates of the heat flux are within a factor of 3 of the experimental measurements, indicating that gyrokinetic turbulence may be responsible for the higher transport measured by the experiment in the outer regions. Future nonlinear simulations can explore this question in more detail. This work is supported by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, which is operated by Princeton University for the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-09CH11466, and the SciDAC Center for the Study of Plasma Microturbulence.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Plasma Physics

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