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Title: As a Matter of State: The Role of Thermodynamics in Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence

Abstract

Turbulence simulations play a key role in advancing the general understanding of the physical properties of turbulence and in interpreting astrophysical observations of turbulent plasmas. For the sake of simplicity, however, turbulence simulations are often conducted in the isothermal limit. Given that the majority of astrophysical systems are not governed by isothermal dynamics, we aim to quantify the impact of thermodynamics on the physics of turbulence, through varying adiabatic index, γ, combined with a range of optically thin cooling functions. Here, we present a suite of ideal magnetohydrodynamics simulations of thermally balanced stationary turbulence in the subsonic, super-Alfvénic, high $${\beta }_{{\rm{p}}}$$ (ratio of thermal to magnetic pressure) regime, where turbulent dissipation is balanced by two idealized cooling functions (approximating linear cooling and free–free emission) and examine the impact of the equation of state by considering cases that correspond to isothermal, monatomic, and diatomic gases. We find a strong anticorrelation between thermal and magnetic pressure independent of thermodynamics, whereas the strong anticorrelation between density and magnetic field found in the isothermal case weakens with increasing γ. Similarly, the linear relation between variations in density and thermal pressure with sonic Mach number becomes steeper with increasing γ. This suggests that there exists a degeneracy in these relations with respect to thermodynamics and Mach number in this regime, which is dominated by slow magnetosonic modes. These results have implications for attempts to infer (e.g.,) Mach numbers from (e.g.,) Faraday rotation measurements, without additional information regarding the thermodynamics of the plasma. However, our results suggest that this degeneracy can be broken by utilizing higher-order moments of observable distribution functions.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1595036
Report Number(s):
SAND-2019-14747J
Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357; 682397
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000; NA0003525
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 889; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; magnetohydrodynamics; astrophysical fluid dynamics; plasma astrophysics; magnetohydrodynamical simulations; intracluster medium

Citation Formats

Grete, Philipp, O’Shea, Brian W., and Beckwith, Kris. As a Matter of State: The Role of Thermodynamics in Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab5aec.
Grete, Philipp, O’Shea, Brian W., & Beckwith, Kris. As a Matter of State: The Role of Thermodynamics in Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab5aec.
Grete, Philipp, O’Shea, Brian W., and Beckwith, Kris. Tue . "As a Matter of State: The Role of Thermodynamics in Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab5aec.
@article{osti_1595036,
title = {As a Matter of State: The Role of Thermodynamics in Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence},
author = {Grete, Philipp and O’Shea, Brian W. and Beckwith, Kris},
abstractNote = {Turbulence simulations play a key role in advancing the general understanding of the physical properties of turbulence and in interpreting astrophysical observations of turbulent plasmas. For the sake of simplicity, however, turbulence simulations are often conducted in the isothermal limit. Given that the majority of astrophysical systems are not governed by isothermal dynamics, we aim to quantify the impact of thermodynamics on the physics of turbulence, through varying adiabatic index, γ, combined with a range of optically thin cooling functions. Here, we present a suite of ideal magnetohydrodynamics simulations of thermally balanced stationary turbulence in the subsonic, super-Alfvénic, high ${\beta }_{{\rm{p}}}$ (ratio of thermal to magnetic pressure) regime, where turbulent dissipation is balanced by two idealized cooling functions (approximating linear cooling and free–free emission) and examine the impact of the equation of state by considering cases that correspond to isothermal, monatomic, and diatomic gases. We find a strong anticorrelation between thermal and magnetic pressure independent of thermodynamics, whereas the strong anticorrelation between density and magnetic field found in the isothermal case weakens with increasing γ. Similarly, the linear relation between variations in density and thermal pressure with sonic Mach number becomes steeper with increasing γ. This suggests that there exists a degeneracy in these relations with respect to thermodynamics and Mach number in this regime, which is dominated by slow magnetosonic modes. These results have implications for attempts to infer (e.g.,) Mach numbers from (e.g.,) Faraday rotation measurements, without additional information regarding the thermodynamics of the plasma. However, our results suggest that this degeneracy can be broken by utilizing higher-order moments of observable distribution functions.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/ab5aec},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 1,
volume = 889,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {1}
}

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