Preliminary Exam

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Investigating the Collisionless Kinetic Regime with the New TREX Drive Cylinder
Date: Wednesday, May 17th
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Place: B343 Sterling
Speaker: Paul Gradney
Abstract: The Terrestrial Reconnection EXperiment (TREX) at the Wisconsin Plasma Physics Laboratory (WiPPL) can reliably reach the collisionless kinetic regime by driving an induced magnetic field through a cylindrical coil geometry. The enhanced drive reduces the effects of collisionality in the experiment, such that electron pressure anisotropy is expected to develop unimpeded by Coulomb collisions. Comparing the upgraded Drive Cylinder to the previous 4-coil TREX configuration, the reconnection current layer is a factor of two longer, with an absolute system size of L/di = 15, and increases the reconnection rate from Erec ~ 100V/m to 900V/m. These improved parameters allow the Drive Cylinder to reach a Lundquist number of S = 10^5, the highest value achieved by a dedicated reconnection experiment. In this parameter space, the Drive Cylinder can explore plasma physics dynamics that are more applicable to the collisionless settings in many space physics phenomenon, such as planetary magnetospheres.
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