On the Evolution From Micrometer-Scale Inhomogeneity to Global Overheated Structure During the Intense Joule Heating of a z-Pinch Rod

T. J. Awe, E. P. Yu, K. C. Yates, W. G. Yelton, B. S. Bauer, T. M. Hutchinson, S. Fuelling, B. B. Mckenzie
2017 IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  
Ultrafast optical microscopy of metal z-pinch rods pulsed with megaampere current is contributing new data and critical insight into what provides the fundamental seed for the magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor (MRT) instability. A two-frame near infrared/visible intensified-charge-coupled device gated imager with 2-ns temporal resolution and 3-µm spatial resolution captured emissions from the nonuniformly Joule heated surfaces of ultrasmooth aluminum (Al) rods. Nonuniform surface emissions are
more » ... ions are consistently first observed from discrete, 10-µm scale, subelectronvolt spots. Aluminum 6061 alloy, with micrometer-scale nonmetallic resistive inclusions, forms several times more spots than 99.999% pure Al 5N; 5-10 ns later, azimuthally stretched elliptical spots and distinct strata (40-100 µm wide by 10 µm tall) are observed on Al 6061, but not on Al 5N. Such overheat strata, which are aligned parallel to the magnetic field, are highly effective seeds for MRT instability growth. These data give credence to the hypothesis that early nonuniform Joule heating, such as the electrothermal instability, may provide the dominant seed for MRT.
doi:10.1109/tps.2017.2655450 fatcat:66md224rpffavn2auwnuhq4w4q