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Publication# Stable equilibria for bootstrap-current-driven low aspect ratio tokamaks

Abstract

Low aspect ratio tokamaks (LATs) can potentially provide a high ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic pressure beta and high plasma current I at a modest size. This opens up the possibility of a high-power density compact fusion power plant. For the concept to be economically feasible, bootstrap current must be a major component of the plasma current, which requires operating at high beta(p). A high value of the Troyon factor beta(N) and strong shaping is required to allow simultaneous operation at a high-P and high bootstrap fraction. Ideal magnetohydrodynamic stability of a range of equilibria at aspect ratio 1.4 is systematically explored by varying the pressure profile and shape. The pressure and current profiles are constrained in such a way as to assure complete bootstrap current alignment. Both beta(N) and beta are defined in terms of the vacuum toroidal field. Equilibria with beta(N) greater than or equal to 8 and beta similar to 35%-55% exist that are stable to n=infinity ballooning modes. The highest beta case is shown to be stable to n=0,1,2,3 kink modes with a conducting wall. (C) 1997 American Institute of Physics.

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Plasma stability

The stability of a plasma is an important consideration in the study of plasma physics. When a system containing a plasma is at equilibrium, it is possible for certain parts of the plasma to be disturbed by small perturbative forces acting on it. The stability of the system determines if the perturbations will grow, oscillate, or be damped out. In many cases, a plasma can be treated as a fluid and its stability analyzed with magnetohydrodynamics (MHD).

Spherical tokamak

A spherical tokamak is a type of fusion power device based on the tokamak principle. It is notable for its very narrow profile, or aspect ratio. A traditional tokamak has a toroidal confinement area that gives it an overall shape similar to a donut, complete with a large hole in the middle. The spherical tokamak reduces the size of the hole as much as possible, resulting in a plasma shape that is almost spherical, often compared to a cored apple. The spherical tokamak is sometimes referred to as a spherical torus and often shortened to ST.

Plasma beta

The beta of a plasma, symbolized by β, is the ratio of the plasma pressure (p = n kB T) to the magnetic pressure (pmag = B2/2μ0). The term is commonly used in studies of the Sun and Earth's magnetic field, and in the field of fusion power designs. In the fusion power field, plasma is often confined using strong magnets. Since the temperature of the fuel scales with pressure, reactors attempt to reach the highest pressures possible. The costs of large magnets roughly scales like β1⁄2.

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Learn the basics of plasma, one of the fundamental states of matter, and the different types of models used to describe it, including fluid and kinetic.

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Learn the basics of plasma, one of the fundamental states of matter, and the different types of models used to describe it, including fluid and kinetic.

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