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Simulating Fietd-Reversed Magnetic-Mirror Fusion Devices Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131617D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 8 page(s) / 33K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Thomas A. Brengle: AUTHOR [+5]


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1983 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Simulating Fietd-Reversed Magnetic-Mirror Fusion Devices

Thomas A. Brengle, Bruce I. Cohen, and, Mark E. Stewart

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Array processing techniques are allowing physicists to program in Fortran and generate fast machine code. The simulations show close agreement with theoretically predicted results.

Nuclear energy research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory indicates that field- reversed magnetic mirror machines may offer greater efficiency and higher electrical yields than current reactor designs. Since theoretical analysis of the FRM is difficult, we are modeling the ion kinetics and electron physics of a fusion plasma to analyze the buildup and decay processes that might be characteristic of an actual machine. We have developed a simulation that accurately models the developing current distribution and use an array processor to obtain faster run times.

The field~reversed mirror

Several designs for nuclear fusion reactors use magnetic fields to confine the fusion plasma. Of these, the field- reversed magnetic mirror machine (Figure 1) is very promising because it enables the design of efficient reactors with electrical generating capacities of hundreds of megawatts. (This is in contrast to tokamaks* and tandem mirrors, which do not become feasible until generating capacities reach the gigawatt range.) The FRM is basically an enhancement of the so-called "simple" mirror machine, in which the plasma is confined by a magnetic field, as shown in Figure 2a.2

*A tokamak is a toroidal device for producing controlled nuclear fusion that involves the confining and heating of a gaseous plasma by means of an internal electric current and its attendant magnetic field.

In a mirror configuration, the magnetic field strength generated by the mirror coils, known as the vacuum magnetic field, is greater near the coils than at the midplane of the device. The ions in the plasma collide infrequently and feel a force from the magnetic field that causes them to move in helixes enclosing a bundle of field lines. Their mobility is thus much greater in the axial direction than in the radial direction.

The higher magnetic field strength near the mirror coils causes plasma ions trying to escape confinement along the field lines to be reflected or "mirrored" back toward the center of the plasma. Electrons, however, collide often and are not well-confined by this method. As they stream out of the ends of the machine, they leave behind a net surplu~of ions, giving the plasma remaining in the machine a...