Global MHD simulations of stratified and turbulent protoplanetary discs
I. Model properties
Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge, CB3 0WA, UK
2 Astronomy Unit, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK e-mail: S.Fromang@damtp.cam.ac.uk
Accepted: 28 June 2006
Aims.We present the results of global 3-D MHD simulations of stratified and turbulent protoplanetary disc models. The aim of this work is to develop thin disc models capable of sustaining turbulence for long run times, which can be used for on-going studies of planet formation in turbulent discs.
Methods.The results are obtained using two codes written in spherical coordinates: GLOBAL and NIRVANA. Both are time-explicit and use finite differences along with the Constrained Transport algorithm to evolve the equations of MHD.
Results.In the presence of a weak toroidal magnetic field, a thin protoplanetary disc in hydrostatic equilibrium is destabilised by the magnetorotational instability (MRI). When the resolution is large enough (∼25 vertical grid cells per scale height), the entire disc settles into a turbulent quasi steady-state after about 300 orbits. Angular momentum is transported outward such that the standard α parameter is roughly . We find that the initial toroidal flux is expelled from the disc midplane and that the disc behaves essentially as a quasi-zero net flux disc for the remainder of the simulation. As in previous studies, the disc develops a dual structure composed of an MRI-driven turbulent core around its midplane, and a magnetised corona stable to the MRI near its surface. By varying disc parameters and boundary conditions, we show that these basic properties of the models are robust.
Conclusions.The high resolution disc models we present in this paper achieve a quasi-steady state and sustain turbulence for hundreds of orbits. As such, they are ideally suited to the study of outstanding problems in planet formation such as disc-planet interactions and dust dynamics.
Key words: accretion, accretion discs / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: numerical / planets and satellites: formation
© ESO, 2006