Quantitative predictions of tokamak energy confinement from first-principles simulations with kinetic effects

M. Kotschenreuther, W. Dorland, M. A. Beer, G. W. Hammett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A first-principles model of anomalous thermal transport based on numerical simulations is presented, with stringent comparisons to experimental data from the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) [Fusion Technol. 21, 1324 (1992)]. This model is based on nonlinear gyrofluid simulations, which predict the fluctuation and thermal transport characteristics of toroidal ion-temperature-gradient- driven (ITG) turbulence, and on comprehensive linear gyrokinetic ballooning calculations, which provide very accurate growth rates, critical temperature gradients, and a quasilinear estimate of χei. The model is derived solely from the simulation results. More than 70 TFTR low confinement (L-mode) discharges have been simulated with quantitative success. Typically, the ion and electron temperature profiles are predicted within the error bars, and the global energy confinement time within ±10%. The measured temperatures at r/a≃0.8 are used as a boundary condition to predict the temperature profiles in the main confinement zone. The dramatic transition to the improved confinement in the supershot regime is also qualitatively explained. Further work is needed to extend this model of core heat transport to include particle and momentum transport, the edge region, and other operating regimes besides the ITG-dominated L mode. Nevertheless, the present model is very successful in predicting thermal transport in the main plasma over a wide range of parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2381-2389
Number of pages9
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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