In this paper measurements of momentum and current transport caused by current driven tearing instability are reported. The measurements are done in the Madison Symmetric Torus reversed-field pinch [R. N. Dexter, D. W. Kerst, T. W. Lovell, S. C. Prager, and J. C. Sprott, Fusion Technol. 19, 131 (1991)] in a regime with repetitive bursts of tearing instability causing magnetic field reconnection. It is established that the plasma parallel momentum profile flattens during these reconnection events: The flow decreases in the core and increases at the edge. The momentum relaxation phenomenon is similar in nature to the well established relaxation of the parallel electrical current and could be a general feature of self-organized systems. The measured fluctuation-induced Maxwell and Reynolds stresses, which govern the dynamics of plasma flow, are large and almost balance each other such that their difference is approximately equal to the rate of change of plasma momentum. The Hall dynamo, which is directly related to the Maxwell stress, drives the parallel current profile relaxation at resonant surfaces at the reconnection events. These results qualitatively agree with analytical calculations and numerical simulations. It is plausible that current-driven instabilities can be responsible for momentum transport in other laboratory and astrophysical plasmas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics