Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Jason T. Cassibry

Committee Member

Snezhana I. Abarzhi

Committee Member

Babak Shotorban

Committee Member

Kader Frendi

Committee Member

Richard Miller


Plasma (Ionized gases), Energy level densities., Plasma density., Laser-plasma interactions., Plasma jets.


The disciplines of High Energy Density Physics (HEDP) and Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) are characterized by hypervelocity implosions and strong shocks. The Plasma Liner Experiment (PLX) is focused on reaching HEDP and/or ICF relevant regimes in excess of 1 Mbar peak pressure by the merging and implosion of discrete plasma jets, as a potentially efficient path towards these extreme conditions in a laboratory. In this work we have presented the first 3D simulations of plasma liner, formation, and implosion by the merging of discrete plasma jets in which ionization, thermal conduction, and radiation are all included in the physics model. The study was conducted by utilizing a smoothed particle hydrodynamics code (SPHC) and was a part of the plasma liner experiment (PLX). The salient physics processes of liner formation and implosion are studied, namely vacuum propagation of plasma jets, merging of the jets (liner forming), implosion (liner collapsing), stagnation (peak pressure), and expansion (rarefaction wave disassembling the target). Radiative transport was found to significantly reduce the temperature of the liner during implosion, thus reducing the thermal expansion rates and leaving more pronounced gradients in the plasma liner during the implosion compared with ideal hydrodynamic simulations. These pronounced gradients lead to a greater sensitivity of initial jet geometry and symmetry on peak pressures obtained. Accounting for ionization and transport, many cases gave higher peak pressures than the ideal hydrodynamic simulations. Scaling laws were developed accordingly, creating a non-dimensional parameter space in which performance of an imploding plasma jet liner can be estimated. It is shown that HEDP regimes could be reached with ≈5 MJ of liner energy, which would translate to roughly 10 to 20 MJ of stored (capacitor) energy. This is a potentially significant improvement over the currently available means via ICF of achieving HEDP and nuclear fusion relevant parameters.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.