A novel flexible field-aligned coordinate system for tokamak edge plasma simulation

Jarrod Leddy, Benjamin Daniel Dudson, M. Romanelli, Brendan William Shanahan, Nicholas Ross Walkden

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Tokamak plasmas are confined by a magnetic field that limits the particle and heat transport perpendicular to the field. Parallel to the field the ionised particles can move freely, so to obtain confinement the field lines are “closed” (ie.form closed surfaces of constant poloidal flux) in the core of a tokamak. Towards, the edge, however, the field lines intersect physical surfaces, leading to interaction between neutral and ionised particles, and the potential melting of the material surface. Simulation of this interaction is important for predicting the performance and lifetime of future tokamak devices such as ITER. Field-aligned coordinates are commonly used in the simulation of tokamak plasmas due to the geometry and magnetic topology of the system. However, these coordinates are limited in the geometry they allow in the poloidal plane due to orthogonality requirements. A novel 3D coordinate system is proposed herein that relaxes this constraint so that any arbitrary, smoothly varying geometry can be matched in the poloidal plane while maintaining a field-aligned coordinate. This system is implemented in BOUT++ and tested for accuracy using the method of manufactured solutions. A MAST edge cross-section is simulated using a fluid plasma model and the
results show expected behaviour for density, temperature, and velocity. Finally, simulations of an isolated divertor leg are conducted with and without neutrals to demonstrate the ion-neutral interaction near the divertor plate and the corresponding beneficial decrease in plasma temperature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2016

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