Heating of braided coronal loops
A. L. Wilmot-Smith, D. I. Pontin, A. R. Yeates⋆ and G. Hornig
Division of Mathematics, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN, UK
Received: 24 August 2011
Accepted: 28 October 2011
Aims. We investigate the relaxation of braided magnetic loops in order to find out how the type of braiding via footpoint motions affects resultant heating of the loop.
Methods. Two magnetic loops, braided in different ways, are used as initial conditions in resistive MHD simulations and their subsequent evolution is studied.
Results. The fields both undergo a resistive relaxation in which current sheets form and fragment and the system evolves towards a state of lower energy. In one case this relaxation is very efficient with current sheets filling the volume and homogeneous heating of the loop occurring. In the other case fewer current sheets develop, less magnetic energy is released in the process and a patchy heating of the loop results. The two cases, although very similar in their setup, can be distinguished by the mixing properties of the photospheric driver. The mixing can be measured by the topological entropy of the plasma flow, an observable quantity.
Key words: magnetic fields / magnetic reconnection / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / plasmas / Sun: corona / Sun: magnetic topology
© ESO, 2011