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Liquid metal experiments on the magnetorotational instability

F. Stefani1 - G. Gerbeth1 - Th. Gundrum1 - J. Szklarski2 - G. Rüdiger3 - R. Hollerbach4

1 Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, P.O. Box 510119, D-01314 Dresden, Germany }
2 Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, 21 Świėtokrzyska, 00-049 Warsaw, Poland }
3 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, D-14482 Potsdam, Germany }
4 Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

The magnetorotational instability (MRI) plays an essential role in the formation of stars and black holes. By destabilizing hydrodynamically stable Keplerian flows, the MRI triggers turbulence and enables outward transport of angular momentum in accretion discs. We present the results of a liquid metal Taylor--Couette experiment under the influence of helical magnetic fields that show typical features of MRI at Reynolds numbers of the order 1000 and Hartmann numbers of the order 10. Particular focus is laid on an improved experiment, in which split end caps are used to minimize the Ekman pumping. Figs 6, Refs 21.

Magnetohydrodynamics 45, No. 2, 135-144, 2009 [PDF, 0.92 Mb]

Copyright: Institute of Physics, University of Latvia
Electronic edition ISSN 1574-0579
Printed edition ISSN 0024-998X