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Durham University

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Academic Staff

Publication details for Peter Wyper

Wyper, P. & Pontin, D. (2014). Dynamic topology and flux rope evolution during non-linear tearing of 3D null point current sheets. Physics of Plasmas 21(10): 102102.

Author(s) from Durham


In this work, the dynamic magnetic field within a tearing-unstable three-dimensional current sheet about a magnetic null point is described in detail. We focus on the evolution of the magnetic null points and flux ropes that are formed during the tearing process. Generally, we find that both magnetic structures are created prolifically within the layer and are non-trivially related. We examine how nulls are created and annihilated during bifurcation processes, and describe how they evolve within the current layer. The type of null bifurcation first observed is associated with the formation of pairs of flux ropes within the current layer. We also find that new nulls form within these flux ropes, both following internal reconnection and as adjacent flux ropes interact. The flux ropes exhibit a complex evolution, driven by a combination of ideal kinking and their interaction with the outflow jets from the main layer. The finite size of the unstable layer also allows us to consider the wider effects of flux rope generation. We find that the unstable current layer acts as a source of torsional magnetohydrodynamic waves and dynamic braiding of magnetic fields. The implications of these results to several areas of heliophysics are discussed.