Nonlinear Stability and Saturation of Ballooning Modes in Tokamaks

C. J. Ham, S. C. Cowley, G. Brochard, H. R. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The theory of tokamak stability to nonlinear "ballooning" displacements of elliptical magnetic flux tubes is presented. Above a critical pressure profile the energy stored in the plasma may be lowered by finite (but not infinitesimal) displacements of such tubes (metastability). Above a higher pressure profile, the linear stability boundary, such tubes are linearly and nonlinearly unstable. The predicted saturated flux tube displacement can be of the order of the pressure gradient scale length. Plasma transport from these displaced flux tubes may explain the rapid loss of confinement in some experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235001
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 9 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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