The Effect of a Metal Wall on Confinement in JET and ASDEX Upgrade

In both JET and ASDEX Upgrade (AUG) the plasma energy confinement has been affected by the presence of a metal wall by the requirement of increased gas-fuelling to avoid tungsten pollution of the plasma. In JET with a beryllium/tungsten wall the high triangularity baseline H-mode scenario (i.e. similar to the ITER reference scenario) has been strongest affected and the benefit of high shaping to give good normalised confinement of H98~1 at high Greenwald density fraction of fGW ~0.8 has not been recovered to date. In AUG with a full tungsten wall a good normalised confinement H98~1 could be achieved in the high triangularity baseline plasmas, albeit at elevated normalised pressure bN>2. The confinement lost with respect to the carbon devices can be largely recovered by the seeding of nitrogen in both JET and AUG. This suggests that the absence of carbon in JET and AUG with a metal wall may have affected the achievable confinement. Threemechanisms have been tested that could explain the effect of carbon or nitrogen (and the absence thereof) on the plasma confinement. First it has been seen in experiments and by means of non-linear gyrokinetic simulations (with the GENE code), that nitrogen seeding does not significantly change the core temperature profile peaking and does not affect the critical ion temperature gradient. Secondly, the dilution of the edge ion density by the injection of nitrogen is not sufficient to explain the plasma temperature and pressure rise. For this latter mechanism to explain the confinement improvement with nitrogen seeding, strongly hollow Zeff profiles would be required, which is not supported by experimental observations. The confinement improvement with nitrogen seeding cannot be explained with these two mechanisms. Thirdly, detailed pedestal structure analysis in JET high triangularity baseline plasmas have shown that fuelling of either deuterium or nitrogen widens the pressure pedestal. However, in JET-ILW this only leads to a confinement benefit in the case of nitrogen seeding where as the pedestal widens, the obtained pedestal pressure gradient is conserved. In the case of deuterium fuelling in JET-ILW the pressure gradient is strongly degraded in the fuelling scan leading to no net confinement gain due to the pedestal widening. The pedestal code EPED correctly predicts the pedestal pressure of the unseeded plasmas in JET-IW within +/­5%, however it does not capture the complex variation of pedestal width and gradient with fuelling and impurity seeding. Also it does not predict the observed increase of pedestal pressure by nitrogen seeding in JET-ILW. Ideal peeling ballooning MHD stability analysis shows that the widening of the pedestal leads to a down shift of the marginal stability boundary by only 10-20%. However, the variations in the pressure gradient observed in the JET-ILW fuelling experiment is much larger and spans a factor of more than two. As a result the experimental points move from deeply unstable to deeply stable on the stability diagram in a deuterium fuelling scan. In AUG-W nitrogen seeded plasmas, also a widening of the pedestal has been observed, consistent with the JET observations. The absence of carbon can thus affect the pedestal structure, and mainly the achieved pedestal gradient, which can be recovered by seeding nitrogen. The underlying physics mechanism is still under investigation and requires further understanding of the role of impurities on the pedestal stability and pedestal structure formation.
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