Studying astrophysics at

Studying Astrophysics

Astrophysics / January 29, 2019

The Madison plasma dynamo experiment (MPDX) is a novel, versatile, basic plasma research device designed to investigate flow driven magnetohydrodynamic instabilities and other high-β phenomena with astrophysically relevant parameters. A 3 m diameter vacuum vessel is lined with 36 rings of alternately oriented 4000 G samarium cobalt magnets, which create an axisymmetric multicusp that contains ∼14 m3 of nearly magnetic field free plasma that is well confined and highly ionized (>50%). At present, 8 lanthanum hexaboride (LaB6) cathodes and 10 molybdenum anodes are inserted into the vessel and biased up to 500 V, drawing 40 A each cathode, ionizing a low pressure Ar or He fill gas and heating it. Up to 100 kW of electron cyclotron heating power is planned for additional electron heating. The LaB6cathodes are positioned in the magnetized edge to drive toroidal rotation through  ×  torques that propagate into the unmagnetized core plasma. Dynamo studies on MPDX require a high magnetic Reynolds number Rm > 1000, and an adjustable fluid Reynolds number 10