The Generation of Magnetic Fields through Driven Turbulence Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We have tested the ability of driven turbulence to generate magnetic field structure from a weak uniform field using three dimensional numerical simulations of incompressible turbulence. We used a pseudo-spectral code with a numerical resolution of up to $144^3$ collocation points. We find that the magnetic fields are amplified through field line stretching at a rate proportional to the difference between the velocity and the magnetic field strength times a constant. Equipartition between the kinetic and magnetic energy densities occurs at a scale somewhat smaller than the kinetic energy peak. Above the equipartition scale the velocity structure is, as expected, nearly isotropic. The magnetic field structure at these scales is uncertain, but the field correlation function is very weak. At the equipartition scale the magnetic fields show only a moderate degree of anisotropy, so that the typical radius of curvature of field lines is comparable to the typical perpendicular scale for field reversal. In other words, there are few field reversals within eddies at the equipartition scale, and no fine-grained series of reversals at smaller scales. At scales below the equipartition scale, both velocity and magnetic structures are anisotropic; the eddies are stretched along the local magnetic field lines, and the magnetic energy dominates the kinetic energy on the same scale by a factor which increases at higher wavenumbers. We do not show a scale-free inertial range, but the power spectra are a function of resolution and/or the imposed viscosity and resistivity. Our results are consistent with the emergence of a scale-free inertial range at higher Reynolds numbers.

publication date

  • July 20, 2000