Hayley Johnson
Professor David Schaffner
Physics

Stainless Steel Proximity Experiment

              Generating and accelerating plasma in a conductive stainless steel chamber affects the magnetic fields inside, due to Faraday’s Law of Induction. These effects will interfere with measurements of the magnetic field due to a pulsed coil (which will later be used to accelerate plasma) inside the chamber. This work is being done in conjunction with work at the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment, which uses a glass chamber instead of stainless steel. Both facilities are attempting to efficiently accelerate and compress plasma for the long-term goal of fusion technology as part of the project for Accelerating Low-Cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA). Initial determinations of the effect of the stainless steel chamber will be made by using a B-dot probe to measure the magnetic field of a pulsed coil placed at incremental distances from a stainless steel plate. As the coil is moved farther from the plate, the plate’s interference with the magnetic field is expected to lessen. Preliminary data-taking suggests that at close proximity, the plate’s effects may be drastic enough to reverse the coil’s magnetic field entirely.