February 15, 2012

Breaking Plasma Jet

An argon plasma jet forms a rapidly growing corkscrew, known as a kink instability. This instability causes an even faster-developing behavior called a Rayleigh-Taylor instability, in which ripples grow and tear the jet apart. This phenomenon, the Caltech researchers say, has never been seen before and could be important in understanding solar flares and in developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source.  Credit: A. L. Moser and P. M. Bellan, Caltech

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