Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Saskia Mordijck

Committee Members

Seth Aubin

Paul Davies


This project compares the hydrogen and helium gas puff plasmas created at the Large Plasma Device (LAPD) using dimensionless numbers to determine the extent to which the turbulence pattern can be explained by plasma physics. Since turbu- lence tends to dissipate energy and particles in a plasma, it can cause problems for fusion reactors by reducing their efficiency. With a better understanding of turbu- lence’s causes and behavior, some of this energy loss could potentially be avoided. In recent experiments at LAPD, an unexpectedly high amount of turbulence was de- tected when helium was used to create the plasma, which sparked interest in further research. LAPD is a linear plasma device that creates short bursts of plasma us- ing pulsed discharges and uses probes such as Langmuir probes and Mach probes to measure the properties of the plasma. The hydrogen and helium plasmas were dimen- sionlessly matched using data from these probes and modified versions of Kadomt- sev’s dimensionless plasma parameters. At least one solid dimensionless match was found between the hydrogen and helium plasmas, and the two plasmas displayed the expected relationships between density and temperature.