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A magnetohydrodynamics study using an electromagnetic shock tube Offenberger, Allan Anthony

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with a theoretical and experimental investigation of Alfvén waves in an ionized medium, and magnetic interaction effects between a moving plasma and a magnetic coil external to the plasma. Methods for generating Alfvén disturbances for varying conditions of gas density and magnetic fields are considered and various means for measuring any effects that may be produced. It will be seen that for propagation of m.h.d. waves, extremely strong coupling between the plasma and field is necessary with consequent necessary high fields and Alfvén speeds. The effect of an axial magnetic field modifying the shock speed in the plasma is investigated and also the effect of the field on incident and reflected shock speeds by placing a plain obstruction in the shock tube which blocks the plasma flow. A further study of magnetic interaction effects between a moving plasma and a localized radial field was undertaken with the desire of correlating mechanical momentum transfer with varying conditions of applied field and gas pressures in the plasma (hence conductivity, density, and shock speed variations). Mechanical and electrical measurements of momentum transfer are compared with theory, and it will be seen that the mechanical method offers a fairly reliable means of measurement.

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