Role of ion kinetic physics in the interaction of magnetic flux ropes

A. Stanier, W. Daughton, L. Chacón, H. Karimabadi, J. Ng, Y. M. Huang, A. Hakim, A. Bhattacharjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


To explain many natural magnetized plasma phenomena, it is crucial to understand how rates of collisionless magnetic reconnection scale in large magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) scale systems. Simulations of isolated current sheets conclude such rates are independent of system size and can be reproduced by the Hall-MHD model, but neglect sheet formation and coupling to MHD scales. Here, it is shown for the problem of flux-rope merging, which includes this formation and coupling, that the Hall-MHD model fails to reproduce the kinetic results. The minimum sufficient model must retain ion kinetic effects, which set the ion diffusion region geometry and give time-averaged rates that reduce significantly with system size, leading to different global evolution in large systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175004
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Oct 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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