Flow Characteristics and Charge Exchange Effects in a Two-Dimensional Model of Electrothermal Plasma Discharges

M. J. Esmond, A. L. Winfrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Electrothermal (ET) plasma discharges are capillary discharges that ablate liner materials and form partially ionized plasma. ET plasma discharges are generated by driving current pulses through a capillary source with peak currents on the order of tens of kA and pulse lengths on the order of (Formula presented.). These plasma discharges can be used to propel pellets into magnetic confinement fusion devices for deep fueling of the fusion reaction, ELM mitigation, and thermal quench of the fusion plasma. ET plasma discharges have been studied using 0D, 1D, and semi-2D fluid models. In this work, a fully 2D model of ET plasma discharges is presented. The newly developed model and code resolve inter-species interaction forces due to elastic collisions. These forces affect the plasma flow field in the source and impede the development of plasma pressure at the exit of the source. In this work, these affects are observed for discharge current pulses peaking at 10 and 20 kA. The sensitivity of the model to the inclusion of charge exchange effects is observed. The inclusion of charge exchange has little effect on the integrated, global results of the simulation. The difference in total ablated mass for the simulations caused by the inclusion of charge exchange reactions is <1 %. Differences in local plasma parameters are observed during discharge initialization, but after initialization, these differences diminish. The physical reasoning for this is discussed and recommendations are made for future modeling efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fusion Energy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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