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Monday, May 23, 2011
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)

Colloquium

Unsteady wandering magnetic field lines, turbulence and laboratory flux ropes

Tom Intrator
P-24, LANL

In solar, magnetosphere, astrophysical and laboratory plasma settings, magnetic field structures play a fundamental role by mediating interchange of energy between fluid flows, magnetic and electric fields and fast particles. Unifying features of magnetic reconnection and turbulence are three dimensional (3D), patchy, unsteady, and bursty. We describe earth bound laboratory experimental investigations of macroscopic field lines that occupy cross sectional areas, and fill 3-D volumes as flux tubes or flux ropes, and are physically meaningful objects with their own mass and dynamics. Ideal 1-D magnetic field lines do not exist, but rather flux ropes form the “building blocks” of magneto-hydro-dynamics (MHD), and are ubiquitous in nature and laboratory fusion experiments. Laboratory investigations with the Reconnection Scaling Experiment RSX, use experimental probes inside flux ropes to measure the magnetic and electric fields, current density, density, temperature, and pressure. Magnetic field lines can be traced from data sets in a 3-D volume, and turbulent statistics can be evaluated. Understanding the dynamics of flux ropes is key to many important astrophysical phenomena. * Support from NASA grant NNH10A0441 & Center for Magnetic Self Organization NSF-OFES

Host: Robert Ecke, CNLS, 667-1444, ecke@lanl.gov