We report on observations of a free-Shercliff-layer instability in a Taylor-Couette experiment using a liquid metal over a wide range of Reynolds numbers, Re∼103-106. The free Shercliff layer is formed by imposing a sufficiently strong axial magnetic field across a pair of differentially rotating axial end cap rings. This layer is destabilized by a hydrodynamic Kelvin-Helmholtz-type instability, characterized by velocity fluctuations in the r-θ plane. The instability appears with an Elsasser number above unity, and saturates with an azimuthal mode number m which increases with the Elsasser number. Measurements of the structure agree well with 2D global linear mode analyses and 3D global nonlinear simulations. These observations have implications for a range of rotating MHD systems in which similar shear layers may be produced.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)