Observation of a free-Shercliff-layer instability in cylindrical geometry

Austin H. Roach, Erik J. Spence, Christophe Gissinger, Eric M. Edlund, Peter Sloboda, Jeremy Goodman, Hantao Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154502
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 11 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Observation of a free-Shercliff-layer instability in cylindrical geometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this