Vacuum arc plasma jet propagation in a toroidal duct

B. Alterkop*, E. Gidalevich, S. Goldsmith, R. L. Boxman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A two fluid magneto-hydrodynamic theory of vacuum arc plasma jet propagation in a magnetized toroidal duct is developed. The physical mechanisms of jet transverse displacement and plasma losses are analyzed and the centrifugal force on the ions is shown to play the principle role in these processes. Optimal conditions for jet propagation occur when the centrifugal force is balanced by the electrical force on the ions. An analytical solution of the nonlinear problem of plasma beam transport through a toroidal duct is obtained for the two cases where ions are magnetized or not magnetized. The ion mass current decreases with the azimuthal distance along the torus as (1+φ/φ0)-1 where φ0 is a characteristic angular distance, for the case when ions are magnetized, and exponentially when the ions are not magnetized. Numerical calculations show that the decrease of plasma density leads to a longitudinal electric field and current. This current, together with the current due to the centrifugal drift, form a current loop which is closed through the plasma and structures outside the torus. Moreover if there are optimal conditions for jet propagation at the torus entrance, they are approximately conserved along the length of the torus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6791-6802
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 1996


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