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Theses Doctoral

MHD Effects of a Ferritic Wall on Tokamak Plasmas

Hughes, Paul Ernest

It has been recognized for some time that the very high fluence of fast (14.1MeV) neutrons produced by deuterium-tritium fusion will represent a major materials challenge for the development of next-generation fusion energy projects such as a fusion component test facility and demonstration fusion power reactor. The best-understood and most promising solutions presently available are a family of low-activation steels originally developed for use in fission reactors, but the ferromagnetic properties of these steels represent a danger to plasma confinement through enhancement of magnetohydrodynamic instabilities and increased susceptibility to error fields. At present, experimental research into the effects of ferromagnetic materials on MHD stability in toroidal geometry has been confined to demonstrating that it is still possible to operate an advanced tokamak in the presence of ferromagnetic components. In order to better quantify the effects of ferromagnetic materials on tokamak plasma stability, a new ferritic wall has been installated in the High Beta Tokamak—Extended Pulse (HBT-EP) device. The development, assembly, installation, and testing of this wall as a modular upgrade is described, and the effect of the wall on machine performance is characterized. Comparative studies of plasma dynamics with the ferritic wall close-fitting against similar plasmas with the ferritic wall retracted demonstrate substantial effects on plasma stability. Resonant magnetic perturbations (RMPs) are applied, demonstrating a 50% increase in n = 1 plasma response amplitude when the ferritic wall is near the plasma. Susceptibility of plasmas to disruption events increases by a factor of 2 or more with the ferritic wall inserted, as disruptions are observed earlier with greater frequency. Growth rates of external kink instabilities are observed to be twice as large in the presence of a close-fitting ferritic wall. Initial studies are made of the influence of mode rotation frequency on the ferritic effect, as well as observations of the effect of the ferritic wall on disruption halo currents.

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Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Thesis Advisors
Navratil, Gerald
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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