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Structure formation in magnetised plasmas

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GFSW01 - Form and deformation in solid and fluid mechanics

Magnetic fields in high temperature plasmas have a tendency to take on the structure of Beltrami fields, also known as force-free fields. These fields play also an important role in vortex dynamics as they form stationary solutions of the Euler equation. While it is comparatively easy to show that the class of Beltrami fields are minimum energy states under certain constraints, it is much harder to predict to which particular force-free state a given magnetic field will relax to. We review what is known about the various routes of relaxation and present some newer results of simulations which show that the dynamics depends strongly on the existence of turbulence during the relaxation process and the environment in which this turbulent plasma is embedded.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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