Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Oberlin Community Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics and Astronomy


Petros Tzeferacos, University of Rochester
Robert Owen

Committee Member(s)

Annemarie Exarhos, Lafayette College
Rob Owen
Dan Styer


Gas-puff, Z-pinch, Simulation, FLASH code, Plasma physics, Computational physics, Magnetohydrodynamics, Nuclear fusion, Renewable energy, Verification, Validation


The promise of nuclear fusion energy as a source of renewable energy has propelled the field of plasma physics into the spotlight in recent decades. In this thesis we discuss the gas puff Z-pinch, one candidate for fusion energy production, and a well known x-ray source. We use magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) as a framework to model the gas puff Z-pinch, but MHD is hard to solve analytically, so we turn to numerical simulation. We apply the publicly available, finite volume, MHD simulation code FLASH to numerically simulate a specific gas puff Z-pinch experiment in one dimension. FLASH has new capabilities that make it possible to simulate the gas puff Z-pinch, but they have not yet been thoroughly validated against accepted results. We compare our simulated data to experimental data, and other simulations contained in the literature. The simulated data are in good agreement with the literature values, and we report that FLASH can accurately simulate the gas puff Z-pinch experiment.