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.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited