Modification of Flow and Flow Driven Instabilities in the Auburn Linear EXperiment for Instability Studies
Type of Degreedissertation
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The primary focus of the experiments presented here is to study the impact of sheared flows on the stability of a magnetized plasma. Experiments will utilize sheared transverse flows to drive an instability in the ion cyclotron regime in a linear, magnetized Helium plasma. These flows will then be significantly modified by an imposed radial electric field to study the asymmetric response of the plasma. Specifically, the results presented here will show that, for the first time with a steady-state, filament-based linear magnetized column, the directionality of the radial electric field has been successfully changed over a large volume of the column, and the plasma response was significantly modified. Results will then be presented showing an instability in the ion cyclotron regime driven by shear in the field aligned plasma flow. This instability will be studied from initial generation, to maximum amplitude, to a transition away from resonance with the experimental device. To support both of these experiments, computational models were developed and will be discussed in the context of experimental observations.