Global Hall-MHD simulations of magnetorotational instability in a plasma Couette flow experiment

F. Ebrahimi, B. Lefebvre, C. B. Forest, A. Bhattacharjee

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Abstract

Global MHD and Hall-MHD numerical simulations relevant to the Madison plasma Couette flow experiment (MPCX) have been performed using the extended MHD code NIMROD. The MPCX has been constructed to study the magnetorotational instability (MRI) in a plasma. The two-fluid Hall effect, which is relevant to some astrophysical situations such as protostellar disks, is also expected to be important in the MPCX. Here, we first derive the local Hall dispersion relation including viscosity, extending earlier work by Balbus and Terquem Astrophys. J. 552, 235 (2001). The predictions of the local analysis are then compared with nonlocal calculations of linear stability of the MRI for a parameter range relevant to the MPCX. It is found that the MHD stability limit and mode structure are altered by the Hall term, and nonlocal analysis is necessary to obtain quantitatively reliable predictions for MPCX. Two-fluid physics also significantly changes the nonlinear evolution and saturation of the axisymmetric MRI. Both the Reynolds and Maxwell stresses contribute significantly to momentum transport. In the Hall regime, when the magnetic field is parallel to the rotation axis, the Maxwell stress is larger than the Reynolds stress (similar to the MHD regime). However, when the magnetic field is antiparallel to the rotation axis in the Hall regime, the Reynolds stress is much larger than the Maxwell stress. To further study the role of non-axisymmetric modes, we have also carried out fully nonlinear MHD computations. Non-axisymmetric modes play an increasingly important role as the magnetic Reynolds number increases and grow to large amplitudes in a saturated turbulent state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number062904
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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