We describe ion and electron temperature measurements in the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) MHD wind tunnel with the goal of understanding limitations on the lifetime of our Taylor-state plasma. A simple model based on the equilibrium eigenvalue and Spitzer resistivity predicted the lifetime satisfactorily during the first phase of the plasma evolution. We measured an average
along a chord by taking the ratio of the
nm line intensities using a vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) monochromator. We also recorded local measurements of
using a double Langmuir probe in order to inform our interpretation of the VUV data. Our results indicated that the plasma decayed inductively during a large part of the evolution. Ion Doppler spectroscopy measurements suggested that ions cooled more slowly than would be expected from thermal equilibration with the electrons, which maintained a constant temperature throughout the lifetime of the plasma.
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