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Title: Wave-driven rotation and mass separation in rotating magnetic mirrors
Authors: Fetterman, Abraham
Advisors: Fisch, Nathaniel J
Other Contributors: Plasma Physics Department
Subjects: Plasma physics
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Axisymmetric mirrors are attractive for fusion because of their simplicity, high plasma pressure at a given magnetic pressure, and steady state operation. Their subclass, rotating mirrors, are particularly interesting because they have increased parallel confinement, magnetohydrodynamic stability, and a natural heating mechanism. This thesis finds and explores an unusual effect in supersonically rotating plasmas: particles are diffused by waves in both potential energy and kinetic energy. Extending the alpha channeling concept to rotating plasmas, the alpha particles may be removed at low energy through the loss cone, and the energy lost may be transferred to the radial electric field. This eliminates the need for electrodes in the mirror throat, which have presented serious technical issues in past rotating plasma devices. A high azimuthal mode number perturbation on the magnetic field is a particularly simple way to achieve the latter effect. In the rotating frame, this perturbation is seen as a wave near the alpha particle cyclotron harmonic, and can break the azimuthal symmetry and magnetic moment conservation without changing the particles total energy. The particle may exit if it reduces its kinetic energy and becomes more trapped if it gains kinetic energy, leading to a steady state current that maintains the field. Simulations of single particles in rotating mirrors show that a stationary wave can extract enough energy from alpha particles for a reactor to be self-sustaining. In the same way, rotation can be produced in non-fusion plasmas. Waves are identified to produce rotation in plasma centrifuges, which separate isotopes based on their mass difference. Finally, a new high throughput mass filter which is well suited to separating nuclear waste is presented. The new filter, the magnetic centrifugal mass filter (MCMF), has well confined output streams and less potential for nuclear proliferation than competing technologies. To assess the usefulness of the MCMF, a metric for comparing mass filters is developed. With this metric, the MCMF is compared with other mass filters such as the Ohkawa filter and the conventional plasma centrifuge.
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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