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Title: Laboratory study of low- β forces in arched, line-tied magnetic flux ropes

Here, the loss-of-equilibrium is a solar eruption mechanism whereby a sudden breakdown of the magnetohydrodynamic force balance in the Sun's corona ejects a massive burst of particles and energy into the heliosphere. Predicting a loss-of-equilibrium, which has more recently been formulated as the torus instability, relies on a detailed understanding of the various forces that hold the pre-eruption magnetic flux rope in equilibrium. Traditionally, idealized analytical force expressions are used to derive simplified eruption criteria that can be compared to solar observations and modeling. What is missing, however, is a validation that these idealized analytical force expressions can be applied to the line-tied, low-aspect-ratio conditions of the corona. In this paper, we address this shortcoming by using a laboratory experiment to study the forces that act on long-lived, arched, line-tied magnetic flux ropes. Three key force terms are evaluated over a wide range of experimental conditions: (1) the upward hoop force; (2) the downward strapping force; and (3) the downward toroidal field tension force. First, the laboratory force measurements show that, on average, the three aforementioned force terms cancel to produce a balanced line-tied equilibrium. This finding validates the laboratory force measurement techniques developed here, which were recently used tomore » identify a dynamic toroidal field tension force that can prevent flux rope eruption. The verification of magnetic force balance also confirms the low-beta assumption that the plasma thermal pressure is negligible in these experiments. Next, the measured force terms are directly compared to corresponding analytical expressions. While the measured and analytical forces are found to be well correlated, the low-aspect-ratio, line-tied conditions in the experiment are found to both reduce the measured hoop force and increase the measured tension force with respect to analytical expectations. These two co-directed effects combine to generate laboratory flux rope equilibria at lower altitudes than are predicted analytically. Such considerations are expected to modify the loss-of-equilibrium eruption criteria for analogous flux ropes in the solar corona.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States); Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
  2. Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
  3. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States); Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States); Harbin Institute of Technology, Heilongjiang (China)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X; TRN: US1701285
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 11; Related Information: The digital data for this paper can be found at; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Contributing Orgs:
Harbin Inst Technol, Lab Space Environm & Phys Sci, Harbin 150001, Heilongjiang, Peoples R China This research is supported by Department of Energy (DoE) Contract No. DE-AC02-09CH11466 and by the National Science Foundation/DoE Center for Magnetic Self-Organization (CMSO).
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1330974