Monday 17 Dec 2012Elliptical flow instability triggered by magnetic field

Prof. Konrad Bajer -

Harrison 209 12:00-13:00

The flow of a fluid of high electrical conductivity is usually expected to be more stable when that fluid is penetrated by a magnetic field.
The reason being that distorting the fields lines takes energy which could otherwise 'fuel' the instability.
A well-know counter example is the magneto-rotational instability (MRI) which, for some time, attracts great interest in the astrophysical context.
We show a new type of magnetically-triggered instability and thus demonstrate that the destabilising effect of the magnetic field may be much more ubiquitous than previously thought. Possible implications for accretion discs are discussed.

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