What is it about?

Two common frameworks for studying plasma turbulence are fluid and gyrokinetic theories. Their equations are complex and often solved by computer simulations. They each have their benefits and their limitations; fluid models are simpler and computationally cheaper but do not include important phenomena like collisionless wave damping, while gyrokinetic models are physically more complete but computationally challenging. In this article we compare these two approaches by performing simulations of a plasma in the Texas Helimak device using both models, and discuss the discrepancies and similarities taking into account the differences in the algorithms used to solve each model.

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Why is it important?

A tremendous international effort to develop fusion energy is underway, and a central component of that work is the computational modeling of plasmas in order to understand, predict and optimize the performance of today's and tomorrow's fusion experiments. Those models often use fluid or gyrokinetic computer codes, and it is important to understand the differences between the two and map the regions of validity of each. This work contributes useful evidence of differences and similarities between such codes, and is a step forward in understanding the origin of such observations.


This work brought together a diverse group of scientists that most often look at the plasma turbulence in fusion devices with one theory or the other. Each individual's input was vital to understanding both models used, and made this a exemplarily collaborative and fun project. This also paves the way for performing similar comparisons with more realistic simulations and/or other more advanced computer codes.

Manaure Francisquez
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Fluid and gyrokinetic turbulence in open field-line, helical plasmas, Physics of Plasmas, August 2020, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0005333.
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