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Resistive evolution of toroidal field distributions and their relation to magnetic clouds
Smiet, C. B.; de Blank, H. J.; de Jong, T. A.; Kok, D. N. L.; Bouwmeester, D.
AA(Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA), AB(DIFFER -- Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research, De Zaale 20, 5612 AJ Eindhoven, the Netherlands), AC(Huygens-Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands), AD(Huygens-Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands), AE(Huygens-Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands)
Journal of Plasma Physics, Volume 85, Issue 1, article id. 905850107, 17 pp.
Publication Date:
astrophysical plasmas
Abstract Copyright:
(c) 2019: © Cambridge University Press 2019 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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We study the resistive evolution of a localized self-organizing magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium. In this configuration the magnetic forces are balanced by a pressure force caused by a toroidal depression in the pressure. Equilibrium is attained when this low-pressure region prevents further expansion into the higher-pressure external plasma. We find that, for the parameters investigated, the resistive evolution of the structures follows a universal pattern when rescaled to resistive time. The finite resistivity causes both a decrease in the magnetic field strength and a finite slip of the plasma fluid against the static equilibrium. This slip is caused by a Pfirsch-Schlüter-type diffusion, similar to what is seen in tokamak equilibria. The net effect is that the configuration remains in magnetostatic equilibrium whilst it slowly grows in size. The rotational transform of the structure becomes nearly constant throughout the entire structure, and decreases according to a power law. In simulations this equilibrium is observed when highly tangled field lines relax in a high-pressure (relative to the magnetic field strength) environment, a situation that occurs when the twisted field of a coronal loop is ejected into the interplanetary solar wind. In this paper we relate this localized magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium to magnetic clouds in the solar wind.
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