Over the past decade, Boozer has argued that three-dimensional (3D) magnetic reconnection fundamentally differs from two-dimensional reconnection due to the fact that the separation between any pair of neighboring field lines almost always increases exponentially over distance in a 3D magnetic field. According to Boozer, this feature makes 3D field-line mapping chaotic and exponentially sensitive to small non-ideal effects; consequently, 3D reconnection can occur without intense current sheets. We test Boozer's theory via ideal and resistive reduced magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the Boozer-Elder coronal loop model driven by sub-Alfvénic footpoint motions [A. H. Boozer and T. Elder, Phys. Plasmas 28, 062303 (2021)]. Our simulation results significantly differ from their predictions. The ideal simulation shows that Boozer and Elder under-predict the intensity of current density due to missing terms in their reduced model equations. Furthermore, resistive simulations of varying Lundquist numbers show that the maximal current density scales linearly rather than logarithmically with the Lundquist number.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics