Plasma Dynamics Lab

RPI Plasma Dynamics Laboratory

[Plasma Lab Logo]
Welcome to the Plasma Dynamics Lab, the home of RPI's research in plasma engineering and electromagnetics. A substantial portion of our work is directed at high temperature, magnetically confined plasmas. This research is crucial to the development of a controlled thermonuclear fusion energy source. Specifically, the Plasma Dynamics Lab is actively involved in the development of a sophisticated particle beam diagnostic system: the Heavy Ion Beam Probe.

Initial development is accomplished in our on-campus laboratory located in the "highbay" area of RPI's Jonsson Engineering Center. Past experiments have been carried out on major confinement devices such as the Texas Experimental Tokamak at the University of Texas Austin. Our current research is design and installation of a HIBP on MST, the reversed-field pinch (RFP) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The Plasma Dynamics Lab posesses unparalleled resources for HIBP design, development, and operation. These include the Vertical Test Stand, the Source Characterization and Measurement Facility, and the expertise of our staff.

The RPI community knows the Plasma Dynamics Lab most commonly as the home of the can crusher. This (somewhat) portable device boasts a 47 uF, 10 kV capacitor switched with a spark-gap. On special occasions, the cap bank is charged up and then discharged through a three-turn coil about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. A soda can placed within the coil during this process will be handily crushed. (No, the coil does not contract.) The wonder of the experience is compounded by the exceptionally loud noise that accompanies it.

Some current projects in the lab are:

Other points of call:
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