Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




The subject of this thesis is an analysis of results from pseudospectral simulation of the Strauss equations of reduced three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics. We have solved these equations in a rigid cylinder of square cross section, a cylinder with perfectly conducting side walls, and periodic ends. We assume that the uniform-density magnetofluid which fills the cylinder is resistive, but inviscid. Situations which we are considering are in several essential ways similar to a tokamak-like plasma; an external magnetic field is imposed, and the plasma carries a net current which produces a poloidal magnetic field of sufficient strength to induce current disruptions. These disruptions are characterized by helical "m = 1, n = 1" current filaments which wrap themselves around the magnetic axis. An ordered, helical velocity field grows out of the broad-band, low amplitude noise with which we initialize the velocity field. Kinetic energy peaks near the time the helical current filament disappears, and the current column broadens and is flattens itself out. We find that this is a nonlinear, turbulent phenomenon, in which many Fourier modes participate. By raising the Lundquist number used in the simulation, we are able to generate situations in which multiple disruptions are induced. When an external electric field is imposed on the plasma, the initial disruption, from a quiescent, state, is found to be very similar to those observed in the undriven runs. After the lobed "m = 1, n = 1" stream function pattern develops, however, a quasi-steady state with flow is maintained for tens of Alfven transit times. If viscous damping is included in the driven problem, the steady state may be avoided, and additional disruptions produced in a time less than a large-scale resistive decay time.



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