skip to main content

Title: Formation of magnetic discontinuities through viscous relaxation

According to Parker's magnetostatic theorem, tangential discontinuities in magnetic field, or current sheets (CSs), are generally unavoidable in an equilibrium magnetofluid with infinite electrical conductivity and complex magnetic topology. These CSs are due to a failure of a magnetic field in achieving force-balance everywhere and preserving its topology while remaining in a spatially continuous state. A recent work [Kumar, Bhattacharyya, and Smolarkiewicz, Phys. Plasmas 20, 112903 (2013)] demonstrated this CS formation utilizing numerical simulations in terms of the vector magnetic field. The magnetohydrodynamic simulations presented here complement the above work by demonstrating CS formation by employing a novel approach of describing the magnetofluid evolution in terms of magnetic flux surfaces instead of the vector magnetic field. The magnetic flux surfaces being the possible sites on which CSs develop, this approach provides a direct visualization of the CS formation, helpful in understanding the governing dynamics. The simulations confirm development of tangential discontinuities through a favorable contortion of magnetic flux surfaces, as the magnetofluid undergoes a topology-preserving viscous relaxation from an initial non-equilibrium state with twisted magnetic field. A crucial finding of this work is in its demonstration of CS formation at spatial locations away from the magnetic nulls.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Udaipur Solar Observatory, Physical Research Laboratory, Dewali, Bari Road, Udaipur-313001 (India)
  2. European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading RG2 9AX (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22300294
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; ELECTRIC CONDUCTIVITY; EQUILIBRIUM; FAILURES; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC FLUX; MAGNETIC SURFACES; PLASMA; RELAXATION; TOPOLOGY; VECTORS