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Title: Approaches to scaling phenomena in space and laboratory plasma
Author: Hnat, Bogdan
ISNI:       0000 0001 2446 692X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2003
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Many laboratory and space plasma phenomena exhibit scaling, i.e., no characteristic spatial and/or temporal scale can be identified in their dynamics. This lack of a characteristic scale makes the dynamics of these systems extremely complex and intractable to analytical approaches. Their statistical features, however, appear to be simple and exhibit a degree of universality. We will explore two approaches to scaling in plasma systems, one based on avalanching sandpile model and the second one based on turbulence. The avalanching model developed here exhibits a wide range of dynamic behavior and incorporates other established models as limiting cases. A single control parameter that specifies the length scale over which the redistribution rule operates compared to the finite system size, allows us to explore different regimes of the model's dynamics close to and away from the existing fixed points. An advanced Virtual Reality visualization technique was employed to gain a better qualitative understanding of the sandpile behavior in the parameter space. This sandpile model was used to simulate features found in the fusion plasma in both low and high confinement modes. Because of the simplicity of this model, it was possible to formally characterize and explain the mechanisms underlying steep gradients formation and appearance of internal transport barriers, and to identify links to tokamak plasma behavior. The solar wind is a supersonic, super-Alfvenic flow of compressible and inhomogeneous plasma from the Sun. The solar wind provides a natural laboratory for observations of MHD turbulence over extended temporal scales. In this case a generic and model independent method of differencing and rescaling was applied to identify self-similarity in the Probability Density Functions (PDF) of fluctuations in solar wind bulk plasma parameters as seen by the WIND spacecraft. The single curve, which we found to describe the fluctuations PDF of some quantities, is non-Gaussian. We model this PDF with two approaches-Fokker-Planck, for which we derived the transport coefficients and associated Langevin equation, and the Castaing distribution that arises from a model for the intermittent turbulent cascade. The technique was also used to quantify the statistical properties of fluctuations in the coupled solar wind-magnetosphere system. These quantitative and model-independent results place important constraints on models for the coupled solar wind-magnetosphere system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (Great Britain) ; Higher Education Funding Council for England
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QC Physics