Evolution of accretion discs around a kerr black hole using extended magnetohydrodynamics

Francois Foucart, Mani Chandra, Charles F. Gammie, Eliot Quataert

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45 Scopus citations


Black holes accreting well below the Eddington rate are believed to have geometrically thick, optically thin, rotationally supported accretion discs in which the Coulomb mean free path is large compared to GM/c2. In such an environment, the disc evolution may differ significantly from ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) predictions. We present non-ideal global axisymmetric simulations of geometrically thick discs around a rotating black hole. The simulations are carried out using a new code GRIM, which evolves a covariant extended magnetohydrodynamics model derived by treating non-ideal effects as a perturbation of ideal MHD. Non-ideal effects are modelled through heat conduction along magnetic field lines, and a difference between the pressure parallel and perpendicular to the field lines. The model relies on an effective collisionality in the disc from wave-particle scattering and velocity- space (mirror and firehose) instabilities. We find that the pressure anisotropy grows to match the magnetic pressure, at which point it saturates due to the mirror instability. The pressure anisotropy produces outward angular momentum transport with a magnitude comparable to that of MHD turbulence in the disc, and a significant increase in the temperature in the wall of the jet. We also find that, at least in our axisymmetric simulations, conduction has a small effect on the disc evolution because (1) the heat flux is constrained to be parallel to the field and the field is close to perpendicular to temperature gradients, and (2) the heat flux is choked by an increase in effective collisionality associated with the mirror instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1332-1345
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Black hole physics
  • MHD
  • Plasmas
  • Quasars: supermassive black holes


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