Three dimensional simulations of plasma filaments in the scrape off layer: A comparison with models of reduced dimensionality

L. Easy, F. Militello, J. Omotani, B. Dudson, E. Havlickova, P. Tamain, Volker Naulin, Anders Henry Nielsen

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This paper presents simulations of isolated 3D filaments in a slab geometry obtained using a newly developed 3D reduced fluid code, written using the BOUT++ framework. First, systematic scans were performed to investigate how the dynamics of a filament are affected by its amplitude, perpendicular size, and parallel extent. The perpendicular size of the filament was found to have a strong influence on its motions, as it determined the relative importance of parallel currents to polarization and viscous currents, whilst drift-wave instabilities were observed if the initial amplitude of the blob was increased sufficiently. Next, the 3D simulations were compared to 2D simulations using different parallel closures; namely, the sheath dissipation closure, which neglects parallel gradients, and the vorticity advection closure, which neglects the influence of parallel currents. The vorticity advection closure was found to not replicate the 3D perpendicular dynamics and overestimated the initial radial acceleration of all the filaments studied. In contrast, a more satisfactory comparison with the sheath dissipation closure was obtained, even in the presence of significant parallel gradients, where the closure is no longer valid. Specifically, it captured the contrasting dynamics of filaments with different perpendicular sizes that were observed in the 3D simulations which the vorticity advection closure failed to replicate. However, neither closure successfully replicated the Boltzmann spinning effects nor the associated poloidal drift of the blob that was observed in the 3D simulations. Although the sheath dissipation closure was concluded to be more successful in replicating the 3D dynamics, it is emphasized that the vorticity advection closure may still be relevant for situations where the parallel current is inhibited from closing through the sheath due to effects such as strong magnetic shear around X points or increased resistivity near the targets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)122515
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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