Equilibrium, stability, and confinement properties of compact toroids produced in field‐reversed theta‐pinch experiments (FRX) are reported. Two experimental facilities, FRX‐A and FRX‐B, have been used to study highly elongated compact toroid plasmas confined in a purely poloidal field geometry. Spatial scans and fill pressure scaling of the equilibrium plasma parameters are presented. Plasma conditions range from Te∼150 eV, Ti∼800 eV, nm∼1×1015 cm−3 to Te∼100 eV, Ti∼150 eV, nm∼4×1015 cm−3. Typical confined plasma dimensions are: major radius R∼4 cm, minor radius a∼2 cm, and total length 35–50 cm. The plasma configuration remains in a stable equilibrium for up to 50 μsec followed by the destructive n = 2 rotational instability. The stable period prior to the onset of the rotational mode is up to one hundred times greater than characteristic Alfvén transit times of the plasma. This stable period increases and the mode growth rate decreases with increased ai (where ρi is the ion gyroradius). Agreement of experimental and theoretical mode frequencies for the instability is observed. Preferential particle loss has been proposed as a likely cause of rotation. The particle inventory at the onset of the instability is consistent with this hypothesis. The particle loss rate is also consistent with the predicted anomalous transport near the separatrix. Contributions to rotational instability from diffusion, end‐shorting, equipartition, and compression are also discussed.

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