Supervisor: Professor Sergey Lebedev (Plasma Physics Group), Co-Supervisor: Dr Simon Bland

Pulsed power facilities, for example the Z facility at Sandia National Laboratory, are used for the generation of high pressures and strong shocks.  Typically the pressure of the magnetic field created by multi-MA currents is employed in the ICE of flyer plate experiments and the level of achievable pressures is primarily determined by the magnitude of the current.  Another approach, proposed by the Plasma Physics Group at Imperial College, is to use a pulsed power driver to generate fast moving plasma jet and use the kinetic pressure of this jet for driving shocks in samples.  This approach promises the possibility of achieving higher pressures than by direct magnetic drive but until now is untested experimentally.

This project aims to work on the development of kinetic drive approach on the 1.5MA MAGPIE pulsed power facility at Imperial College involving work on a modification, for this purpose, of the already existing set-ups which allow generation of fast (200km/s), high Mach number jets and on designing new configurations.  These jets will be applied to drive shocks in different samples, with the main objective to characterise the limits of this new technique and to assess possible levels of pressure which can be achieved on higher current facilities.  This will involve training in the use and development of different diagnostics which are commonly used in pulsed power and shock research studies, e.g. VISA, fast optical and X-ray streak cameras, X-ray radiography etc.  In addition to work within the MAGPIE pulsed power facility the project will also involve close interaction with the Pulsed Power Group at AWE and, it is anticipated, participation in experiments at Sandia National Laboratories.