Dynamics of cylindrically converging precursor plasma flow in wire-arrayZ-pinch experiments
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This paper summarizes the present understanding of the processes leading to precursor column formation in cylindrical wire arrays on the 1 MA MAGPIE generator at Imperial College London. Direct experimental measurements of the diameter variation during the collapse and formation phase of the precursor column are presented, along with soft x-ray emission, and quantitative radiography. In addition, data from twisted cylindrical arrays are presented which give additional information on the behavior of coronal plasma generated in wire array z pinches. Three stages in precursor column formation are identifiable from the data: broad initial density profile, rapid contraction to small diameter, and slow expansion after formation. The correlation of emission to column diameter variation indicates the contraction phase is a nonlinear collapse resulting from the increasing on-axis density and radiative cooling rate. The variation in the minimum diameter is measured for several array materials, and data show good agreement with a pressure balance model. Comparison of column expansion rates to analytical models allows an estimate of column temperature variation, and estimates of the current in the column are also made. Formation data are in good agreement with both fluid and kinetic modeling, but highlight the need to include collisionless flow in the early time behavior.
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