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The influence of Hall currents, plasma viscosity and electron inertia on magnetic reconnection solutions

Abstract This thesis examines magnetic reconnection in the solar corona. Magnetic reconnection is the only mechanism which allows the magnetic topology of magnetized plasmas to be changed. Many of the dynamic processes in the Sun's atmosphere are believed to be driven by magnetic reconnection and studying the behaviour of such phenomena is a key step to understanding the reconnection mechanism. In Chapters 1 to 3, we discuss the physical and mathematical framework on which current magnetohydrodynamic reconnection models are based. The aim of the thesis is to investigate theoretical models of magnetic reconnection using variety of analytic and numerical techniques within the theoretical frame work of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). In Chapter 4 we use a line-tied X-point collapse model for compressible plasmas to investigate the role of viscosity on the energy release mechanism. This model also provides the basis for the investigation of Chapter 5 which explores the impact of Hall currents in the transient X-point energy dissipation. Chapter 6 is concerned with how reconnection is modified in the presence of generalized Ohm's law which includes both Hall current and electron inertia contributions. In contrast to the closed X-point collapse geometry adopted for compressible plasmas previously, we find it more convenient to explore this problem using an open incompressible geometry in which plasma is continually entering and exiting the reconnection region. Specially, we find the scaling of the Hall-MHD system size analytically, rather than numerically as in the X-point problem of Chapter 5. Chapter 7 summarizes the results of investigations in Chapters 4, 5 and 6.
Type of thesis
Senanayake, T. (2007). The influence of Hall currents, plasma viscosity and electron inertia on magnetic reconnection solutions (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2593
The University of Waikato
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