Volume 490, Number 2, November I 2008
|Page(s)||493 - 500|
|Published online||11 September 2008|
On the linear theory of Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities of relativistic magnetohydrodynamic planar flows
Dipartimento di Fisica Generale, Universitá degli Studi di Torino, via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Torino, Italy e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
2 INAF/Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino, Strada Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
Accepted: 1 August 2008
Aims. We investigate the linear stability properties of the plane interface separating two relativistic magnetized flows in motion with respect to each other. The two flows are governed by the (special) relativistic equations for a magnetized perfect gas in the infinite conductivity approximation.
Methods. By adopting the vortex-sheet approximation, the relativistic magnetohydrodynamics equations are linearized around the equilibrium state and the corresponding dispersion relation is derived and discussed. The behavior of the configuration and the regimes of instability are investigated following the effects of four physical parameters: the flow velocity, the relativistic and Alfvénic Mach numbers, and the inclination of the wave vector on the plane of the interface.
Results. From the numerical solution of the dispersion relation, we find in general two separate regions of instability, associated with the slow and fast magnetosonic modes respectively. Modes parallel to the flow velocity are destabilized only for sufficiently low magnetization. For the latter case, stabilization is attained, in addition, at sufficiently large relativistic velocities between the two flows in relative motion.
Conclusions. We briefly comment the relevance of these results to the study of the stability of astrophysical jets.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / instabilities / plasmas
© ESO, 2008
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