RESEARCH IN HIGH TEMPERATURE PLASMA.
Semiannual technical rept.,
AEROJET-GENERAL CORP SAN RAMON CA SAN RAMON RESEARCH OPERATION
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The Air Force High Temperature Plasma Program was conceived in 1961 following the discovery of hard superconductors. Early studies considered the neutron-free He3-D reaction for space applications and later work has shown it to have decisive advantages for terrestrial use. The major research facility consists of a versatile adiabatic mirrorcusp AMC machine with a deep magnetic well. Planned flexibility provides for variations in magnetic configurations and injection angles. A high current molecular ion source with a uniform multibeam focus and high beam density has been developed. It is used in a five-stage accelerator with independent connections between each power rectifier and acceleration stage. The final stage is modulated to provide a twenty percent variation in beam energy. Multiple beams are accelerated simultaneously providing a wide energy distribution in the trapped plasma. A broad distribution in velocity space is made possible by Lorentz ionization at varying angles to the magnetic field. Ion or neutral injection can be applied. A study of the penetration of electrostatic fields into plasma in a magnetic field led to development of a new electrostatic containment technique ESCON. In a preliminary ESCON experiment, application of the electric field has increased the trapped plasma density by a factor of one hundred in a spindle cusp. Essentially all the beam which entered the cusp was trapped. Turbulent heating experiments including the arc starvation method have produced unusually efficient plasma heating. An investigation of plasma waves in hollow cathode discharges explains the modes of oscillation observed.
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics