Numerical Analysis Seminars: Emergent properties of magnetic energy release in plasmas
6 March 2015 14:00 in CM105
Plasmas have a remarkable ability to store large amounts of energy in magnetic fields and to release this rapidly by global reconfiguration of the magnetic field. This behaviour is responsible for solar flares, auroras, geomagnetic storms and problematic disruptions in lab and fusion plasmas. Understanding the energy release is challenging because a fast change to the global magnetic energy typically results from many much smaller changes inside numerous turbulently forming and evolving "reconnection regions". Despite the inherent complexity, order does emerge at large scales due to global constraints imposed by Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism. In this seminar, I will present some recent successes in modelling the global behaviour, including a newly-discovered constraint that greatly improves prediction of the energy released and of the magnetic field that survives the relaxation.
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