Abstract

Collisionality is one of the key parameters in determining turbulent transport in the plasma edge, regulating phenomena such as 'shoulder formation', separation of scale lengths in the scrape-off layer (SOL), turbulence damping and zonal flow dynamics. Understanding its role is therefore of primary importance for future reactors like ITER. Getting reliable predictions and a better characterization of plasma flow properties when varying collisionality remains, however, a critical challenge for the simulations. This paper focuses on the impact of varying collisionality in a non-isothermal three-dimensional fluid model of the plasma edge. A high field side limited configuration encompassing open and closed magnetic field lines with parameters typical of a medium-sized tokamak is considered. The present model can consistently account for the variations of collisionality and its impact on both the parallel resistivity eta(parallel to) and the ion and electron parallel thermal conductivities chi(parallel to e,i). Details on mean flow and turbulence properties are given. Changing collisionality leads to significant changes in the flow properties both on the mean and fluctuating quantities. In particular, lowering collisionality decreases the size of coherent structures, the fluctuation levels of turbulence, and steepens the density and temperature equilibrium profiles around the separatrix leading to a global reduction of the turbulent transport. The SOL width is observed to increase with collisionality, eventually resulting in the disappearance of the scale lengths separation between near and far SOL, consistently with previous experimental observations. At low collisionality, where the presence of narrow feature is well-established, a contribution of heat conduction increases up to compete with heat convection.

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