Spheromaks are easily formed, self-organized magnetized plasma configurations that have intrigued plasma physicists for over two decades. Sometimes called magnetic vortices, magnetic smoke rings, or plasmoids, spheromaks first attracted attention as a possible controlled thermonuclear plasma confinement scheme, but are now known to have many other applications.This book begins with a review of the basic concepts of magnetohydrodynamics and toroidal magnetic configurations, then provides a detailed exposition of the 3D topological concepts underlying spheromak physics, namely magnetic helicity, Taylor relaxation, force-free equilibria, and tilt stability. It then examines spheromak formation techniques, driven and isolated configurations, dynamo concepts, practical experimental issues, diagnostics, and a number of applications. The book concludes by showing how spheromak ideas are closely related to the physics of solar prominences and interplanetary magnetic clouds.
Basic concepts; magnetic helicity; relaxation of an isolated configuration to the Taylor State; relaxation in driven configurations; the MHD energy principle, helicity, and Taylor States; survey of spheromak formation schemes; classification of regimes - an imperfect analogy to thermodynamics; analysis of isolated cylindrical spheromaks; the role of the wall; analysis of driven spheromaks - strong coupling; helicity flow and dynamos; confinement and transport in spheromaks; some important practical issues; basic diagnostics for spheromaks; applications of spheromaks; solar and space phenomena related to speromaks.