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Turbulent and neoclassical toroidal momentum transport in tokamak plasmas

Abstract : The goal of magnetic confinement devices such as tokamaks is to produce energy from nuclear fusion reactions in plasmas at low densities and high temperatures. Experimentally, toroidal flows have been found to significantly improve the energy confinement, and therefore the performance of the machine. As extrinsic momentum sources will be limited in future fusion devices such as ITER, an understanding of the physics of toroidal momentum transport and the generation of intrinsic toroidal rotation in tokamaks would be an important step in order to predict the rotation profile in experiments. Among the mechanisms expected to contribute to the generation of toroidal rotation is the transport of momentum by electrostatic turbulence, which governs heat transport in tokamaks. Due to the low collisionality of the plasma, kinetic modeling is mandatory for the study of tokamak turbulence. In principle, this implies the modeling of a six-dimensional distribution function representing the density of particles in position and velocity phase-space, which can be reduced to five dimensions when considering only frequencies below the particle cyclotron frequency. This approximation, relevant for the study of turbulence in tokamaks, leads to the so-called gyrokinetic model and brings the computational cost of the model within the presently available numerical resources. In this work, we study the transport of toroidal momentum in tokamaks in the framework of the gyrokinetic model. First, we show that this reduced model is indeed capable of accurately modeling momentum transport by deriving a local conservation equation of toroidal momentum, and verifying it numerically with the gyrokinetic code GYSELA. Secondly, we show how electrostatic turbulence can break the axisymmetry and generate toroidal rotation, while a strong link between turbulent heat and momentum transport is identified, as both exhibit the same large-scale avalanche-like events. The dynamics of turbulent transport are then analyzed and, although the conventional gyro-Bohm scaling is recovered on average, local processes are found to be clearly non-diffusive. The impact of scrape-off layer flows on core toroidal rotation is also analyzed by modifying the boundary conditions in GYSELA. Finally, the equilibrium magnetic field in tokamaks, which is not rigorously axisymmetric, provides another means of breaking the toroidal symmetry, through purely collisional processes. This effect is found to contribute significantly to toroidal momentum transport and can compete with the turbulence-driven toroidal rotation in tokamaks.
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Contributor : Jeremie Abiteboul <>
Submitted on : Friday, January 18, 2013 - 3:02:02 PM
Last modification on : Monday, October 1, 2018 - 4:03:08 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, April 19, 2013 - 4:03:29 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-00777996, version 1



Jeremie Abiteboul. Turbulent and neoclassical toroidal momentum transport in tokamak plasmas. Plasma Physics [physics.plasm-ph]. Aix-Marseille Université, 2012. English. ⟨tel-00777996⟩



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