Dynamics of Cylindrically Converging Precursor Plasma Flow


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PHYSICAL REVIEW E 74 046403 2006 Dynamics of cylindrically converging precursor plasma flow in wire array Z pinch experiments S C Bott 1 S V Lebedev 1 D J Ampleford 2 S N Bland 1 J P Chittenden 1 A Ciardi 1 M G Haines 1 C Jennings 2 M Sherlock 1 G Hall 1 J Rapley 1 F N Beg 3 and J Palmer4 1 The Blackett Laboratory Imperial College London SW7 2BW United Kingdom 2 Sandia National Laboratory Albuquerque NM USA 3 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering University of California San Diego California USA 4 AWE Plc Aldermaston RG7 4PR United Kingdom Received 6 April 2006 revised manuscript received 24 July 2006 published 12 October 2006 This paper summarizes the present understanding of the processes leading to precursor column formation in cylindrical wire arrays on the 1 MA MAGPIE generator at Imperial College London Direct experimental measurements of the diameter variation during the collapse and formation phase of the precursor column are presented along with soft x ray emission and quantitative radiography In addition data from twisted cylindrical arrays are presented which give additional information on the behavior of coronal plasma generated in wire array z pinches Three stages in precursor column formation are identifiable from the data broad initial density profile rapid contraction to small diameter and slow expansion after formation The correlation of emission to column diameter variation indicates the contraction phase is a nonlinear collapse resulting from the increasing on axis density and radiative cooling rate The variation in the minimum diameter is measured for several array materials and data show good agreement with a pressure balance model Comparison of column expansion rates to analytical models allows an estimate of column temperature variation and estimates of the current in the column are also made Formation data are in good agreement with both fluid and kinetic modeling but highlight the need to include collisionless flow in the early

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