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Title:
Magneto-immutable turbulence in weakly collisional plasmas
Authors:
Squire, J.; Schekochihin, A. A.; Quataert, E.; Kunz, M. W.
Affiliation:
AA(Physics Department, University of Otago, 730 Cumberland St., Dunedin 9016, New Zealand), AB(The Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford, Clarendon Laboratory, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3P4, UK), AC(Astronomy Department and Theoretical Astrophysics Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA), AD(Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Peyton Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA)
Publication:
Journal of Plasma Physics, Volume 85, Issue 1, article id. 905850114, 18 pp.
Publication Date:
02/2019
Origin:
CUP
Keywords:
astrophysical plasmas, plasma dynamics, space plasma physics
Abstract Copyright:
(c) 2019: © Cambridge University Press 2019
DOI:
10.1017/S0022377819000114
Bibliographic Code:
2019JPlPh..85a9014S

Abstract

We propose that pressure anisotropy causes weakly collisional turbulent plasmas to self-organize so as to resist changes in magnetic-field strength. We term this effect `magneto-immutability' by analogy with incompressibility (resistance to changes in pressure). The effect is important when the pressure anisotropy becomes comparable to the magnetic pressure, suggesting that in collisionless, weakly magnetized (high-> beta >) plasmas its dynamical relevance is similar to that of incompressibility. Simulations of magnetized turbulence using the weakly collisional Braginskii model show that magneto-immutable turbulence is surprisingly similar, in most statistical measures, to critically balanced magnetohydrodynamic turbulence. However, in order to minimize magnetic-field variation, the flow direction becomes more constrained than in magnetohydrodynamics, and the turbulence is more strongly dominated by magnetic energy (a non-zero `residual energy'). These effects represent key differences between pressure-anisotropic and fluid turbulence, and should be observable in the > beta\gtrsim 1 > turbulent solar wind.
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