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A new modelling of the cross-field transport in diverted edge plasma : application to 2D transport simulations with SolEdge2D-EIRENE

Abstract : Steady-state operations of the next-generation fusion device ITER will require the development of reliable numerical tools to estimate key engineering parameters suitable for technological constraints at reasonable computational cost.So-called transport codes fulfil this requirement since they rely on 2D fluid equations averaged over time fluctuations, similarly to Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes models commonly used for engineering applications in the neutral fluid community. Furthermore, transport codes can gather most of the physical ingredients ruling the edge plasma behaviour, as well as realistic magnetic topology and wall geometry. However, their predictability is limited by a crude description of turbulent fluxes perpendicular to the magnetic field lines. In the plasma community, a special concern is devoted to acquire a detailed understanding of these fluxes, since they strongly impact on the power extraction and the confinement of plasma over extended periods of time. In transport codes though, turbulent fluxes, which are assumed diffusive, are crudely determined by either homogeneous, or ad-hoc diffusive coefficients, or feedback-loop procedures applied a-posteriori on experimental data.Motivated by these issues, in this work we introduce step-by-step a new approach with the aim to self-consistently estimate the distribution of turbulent fluxes in transport codes, when steady-state plasmas are concerned. The underlying strategy is inspired by the work done from the 60’s in neutral turbulence and adapted here to plasma for fusion applications.The first key concept is the Boussinesq assumption. It consists in assuming a colinearity between the Reynolds stress tensor - which represents the contribution of turbulence to the mean flow - and the mean rate of strain tensor - expressed by the gradient of the mean velocity through a coefficient: the so-called eddy-viscosity. The second concept is to express this new eddy viscosity coefficient as a function of characteristic turbulence quantities. We have focused here on the most popular in Computational Fluid Dynamics, the κ-ε model, where transport equations for the averaged kinetic turbulent energy and the turbulence dissipation rate are designed semi-empirically. Steady-state κ and ε allow for a self-consistent estimation of the eddy-viscosity coefficient, thus including the impact of turbulence in steady-state mean flows. We propose a κ-ε -like model where two transport equations for turbulent kinetic energy and its dissipation rate are derived algebraically, including the physics of the linear interchange instability. For the numerical implementation, we exploit the flexibility of the transport package SolEdge2D-EIRENE, developed for many years through the collaboration of the IRFM at the CEA and the laboratory M2P2 at Aix-Marseille University.Since the new model is semi-empirical, it presents some free parameters to be closed. In this work, we have proposed different approaches. In particular, in order to increase the predictive capabilities of the model, a reference scaling law for the width of the heat-flux profile in the scrape-off layer has been assumed, empirically determined from the experimental measurements of the outer target heat load in various machines. The new model is integrated in SolEdge2D-EIRENE for simulations with diverted plasma in TCV and WEST-like geometries, for L-mode discharges. Steady-state results are discussed and shown to favourably compare with experimental data at both the outer mid-plane and the outer divertor. Moreover, self-consistent distributions of diffusivities are shown to exhibit poloidal asymmetries consistently with the ballooned distribution of cross-field transport due to the interchange instability and observed at the same conditions in both first-principle codes and experiments.
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Serafina Baschetti. A new modelling of the cross-field transport in diverted edge plasma : application to 2D transport simulations with SolEdge2D-EIRENE. Fluids mechanics [physics.class-ph]. Ecole Centrale Marseille, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019ECDM0009⟩. ⟨tel-02883789⟩

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