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Thursday, January 30, 2014
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)

Postdoc Seminar

A Study of Flux Rope Dynamics and Three-dimensional Magnetic Reconnection with Two-Fluid Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) Modeling

Cihan Akcay
P-24 / CNLS

Flux ropes are current-carrying twisted bundles of magnetic field lines. They form the basic building blocks of magnetic dynamics and are fundamental features of astrophyiscal, solar, and man-made plasmas. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME) are two well-recognized natural phenomena that feature flux rope dynamics, which often involve magnetic reconnection (MR). MR is another widespread phenomenon that occurs in solar coronas, black hole accretion disks, the Earth's magnetosphere, and fusion plasmas. It is a process by which stressed magnetic fields release stored energy while they undergo topological changes. It gives rise to strong plasma flows and plasma heating. CMEs, for example, are a consequence of MR.

The aim of my research is to study flux rope dynamics and 3-D MR observed in the Reconnection Scaling Experiment (RSX) with magneto-hydrodynamic modeling. RSX is capable of studying the onset and evolution of one or multiple flux ropes with various end boundary conditions. HiFi is a general PDE solver that uses high-order spectral elements,implicit time-stepping (theta method) and PETSC libraries. The focus of my talk will be mostly on providing contex: introducing the concepts of flux ropes, MR, and basic plasma physics topics like MHD, followed by an overview of RSX and HiFi. I will close by outlining my research approach and hopefully show one or two fresh results.