Approaching the investigation of plasma turbulence through a rigorous verification and validation procedure: A practical examplea)
In the present work, a Verification and Validation procedure is presented and applied showing, through a practical example, how it can contribute to advancing our physics understanding of plasma turbulence. Bridging the gap between plasma physics and other scientific domains, in particular, the computational fluid dynamics community, a rigorous methodology for the verification of a plasma simulation code is presented, based on the method of manufactured solutions. This methodology assesses that the model equations are correctly solved, within the order of accuracy of the numerical scheme. The technique to carry out a solution verification is described to provide a rigorous estimate of the uncertainty affecting the numerical results. A methodology for plasma turbulence code validation is also discussed, focusing on quantitative assessment of the agreement between experiments and simulations. The Verification and Validation methodology is then applied to the study of plasma turbulence in the basic plasma physics experiment TORPEX [Fasoli et al., Phys. Plasmas 13, 055902 (2006)], considering both two-dimensional and three-dimensional simulations carried out with the GBS code [Ricci et al., Plasma Phys. Controlled Fusion 54, 124047 (2012)]. The validation procedure allows progress in the understanding of the turbulent dynamics in TORPEX, by pinpointing the presence of a turbulent regime transition, due to the competition between the resistive and ideal interchange instabilities.