UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Instabilities of a Z-pinch discharge Hodgson, Rodney Trevor


The cylindrical column of plasma produced in the first stage of a z-pinch discharge is theoretically unstable. For one particular type of instability, the amplitude of a surface perturbation increases at a rate dependent on the acceleration of the surface (Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities). An experimental study of these instabilities has been carried out by photographing the discharge column with a high-speed framing-camera. Simple rotationally symmetric instabilities have been excited in the normally stable initial stage of an argon z-pinch discharge by means of a set of equally spaced glass rings. The framing camera photographs show that the instabilities develope approximately in accordance with the Rayleigh-Taylor theory. No axial drift of the instabilities is observed, but the new technique of studying instabilities reveals that the acceleration of the discharge boundary changes appreciably three or four times during the initial stage of the discharge.

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