Magnetic reconnection process in transient coaxial helicity injection

posted Sep 17, 2013, 8:47 AM by Eun-Hwa Kim   [ updated Oct 23, 2013, 2:28 PM ]
F. Ebrahimi, E. B. Hooper, C. R. Sovinec, and R. Raman

Phys. Plasmas 20, 090702 (2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4821974 (4 pages)

The physics of magnetic reconnection and fast flux closure in transient coaxial helicity injection experiments in NSTX is examined using resistive MHD simulations. These simulations have been performed using the NIMROD code with fixed boundary flux (including NSTX poloidal coil currents) in the NSTX experimental geometry. Simulations show that an X point is formed in the injector region, followed by formation of closed flux surfaces within 0.5 ms after the driven injector voltage and injector current begin to rapidly decrease. As the injector voltage is turned off, the field lines tend to untwist in the toroidal direction and magnetic field compression exerts a radial J × B force and generates a bi-directional radial Etoroidal×Bpoloidal pinch flow to bring oppositely directed field lines closer together to reconnect. At sufficiently low magnetic diffusivity (high Lundquist number), and with a sufficiently narrow injector flux footprint width, the oppositely directed field lines have sufficient time to reconnect (before dissipating), leading to the formation of closed flux surfaces. The reconnection process is shown to have transient Sweet-Parker characteristics.