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Taylor State Merging at SSX: Experiment and Simulation

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1397, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Plasma 2020, 3(1), 27-37;
Received: 14 October 2019 / Revised: 9 December 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2020 / Published: 17 March 2020
We describe experiments and simulations of dynamical merging with two Taylor state plasmas in a Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) device. Taylor states are formed by magnetized plasma guns at opposite ends of the device. We performed experiments with Taylor states of both senses of magnetic helicity (right-handed twist or left-handed twist). We present results of both counter-helicity merging (one side left-handed, the other right-handed) and co-helicity merging (both sides left-handed). Experiments show significant ion heating, consistent with magnetic reconnection. We suggest that the merged, warm state could be a suitable target for future magneto-inertial fusion experiments. Magnetohydrodynamic simulations of these experiments reveal the structure of the final relaxed, merged state. View Full-Text
Keywords: magnetic reconnection; magnetohydrodynamics; magneto-inertial fusion magnetic reconnection; magnetohydrodynamics; magneto-inertial fusion
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Brown, M.; Gelber, K.; Mebratu, M. Taylor State Merging at SSX: Experiment and Simulation. Plasma 2020, 3, 27-37.

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