Spontaneous formation of toroidal flow was measured for the first time in oblate field-reversed configurations (FRCs) produced in TS-3 and TS-4 experiments. The toroidal ion flow (Vi ≈ 10 km s-1) was found to peak around the magnetic axis, indicating that the FRC had a peaked ion current in sharp contrast to its hollow electric current. The peaked ion flow also indicated the formation of high flow shear inside the separatrix. The toroidal flow was observed to deform the magnetic field lines of the FRC, producing bipolar toroidal field profile. In high-s FRC (averaged number of ion gyro-radii in the separatrix: 's' = 4.5) with slow flow, its n = 1 mode kept growing, causing collapse of the whole configuration. However, in low-s FRC (s = 3) with fast flow, the rotating n = 2 mode (saturated) became dominant after n = 1 mode saturation. The spontaneous formation of flow-shear possibly transformed the n = 1 mode into the n = 2 mode, suggesting a new sheared-flow stabilization of the n = 1 mode. The flow-shear was also generated artificially using the 'sling shot' effect of the counterhelicity reconnection. The n = 1 and 2 mode amplitudes were reduced to 1/5-1/10 due to the generated flow-shear. A new method for continuous sheared-flow generation was proposed for stabilization and heating of FRC by the use of intermittent merging of spheromaks with opposing toroidal field.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics