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On the saturation mechanism of the fluctuation dynamo at PrM >= 1

Lookup NU author(s): Amit Seta, Professor Paul BushbyORCiD, Professor Anvar ShukurovORCiD, Dr Toby Wood



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Physical Society, 2020.

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The presence of magnetic fields in many astrophysical objects is due to dynamo action, whereby a part of the kinetic energy is converted into magnetic energy. A turbulent dynamo that produces magnetic field structures on the same scale as the turbulent flow is known as the fluctuation dynamo. We use numerical simulations to explore the nonlinear, statistically steady state of the fluctuation dynamo in driven turbulence. We demonstrate that as the magnetic field growth saturates, its amplification and diffusion are both affected by the back-reaction of the Lorentz force upon the flow. The amplification of the magnetic field is reduced due to stronger alignment between the velocity field, magnetic field, and electric current density. Furthermore, we confirm that the amplification decreases due to a weaker stretching of the magnetic field lines. The enhancement in diffusion relative to the field line stretching is quantified by a decrease in the computed local value of the magnetic Reynolds number. Using the Minkowski functionals, we quantify the shape of the magnetic structures produced by the dynamo as magnetic filaments and ribbons in both kinematic and saturated dynamos and derive the scalings of the typical length, width, and thickness of the magnetic structures with the magnetic Reynolds number. We show that all three of these magnetic length scales increase as the dynamo saturates. The magnetic intermittency, strong in the kinematic dynamo (where the magnetic field strength grows exponentially) persists in the statistically steady state, but intense magnetic filaments and ribbons are more volume-filling.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Seta A, Bushby PJ, Shukurov A, Wood TS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physical Review Fluids

Year: 2020

Volume: 5

Online publication date: 21/04/2020

Acceptance date: 18/03/2020

Date deposited: 19/03/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2469-990X

Publisher: American Physical Society


DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevFluids.5.043702


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Funder referenceFunder name
RPG-2014-427Leverhulme Trust, The
ST/N000900/1STFC (formerly PPARC)