Volume 518, July-August 2010Herschel: the first science highlights
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||25 August 2010|
Open and closed boundaries in large-scale convective dynamos
Department of Physics, Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a,
PO Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland e-mail: email@example.com
2 NORDITA, Roslagstullsbacken 23, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
3 Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Accepted: 26 May 2010
Context. Earlier work has suggested that large-scale dynamos can reach and maintain equipartition field strengths on a dynamical time scale only if magnetic helicity of the fluctuating field can be shed from the domain through open boundaries.
Aims. Our aim is to test this scenario in convection-driven dynamos by comparing results for open and closed boundary conditions.
Methods. Three-dimensional numerical simulations of turbulent compressible convection with shear and rotation are used to study the effects of boundary conditions on the excitation and saturation of large-scale dynamos. Open (vertical-field) and closed (perfect- conductor) boundary conditions are used for the magnetic field. The shear flow is such that the contours of shear are vertical, crossing the outer surface, and are thus ideally suited for driving a shear-induced magnetic helicity flux.
Results. We find that for given shear and rotation rate, the growth rate of the magnetic field is larger if open boundary conditions are used. The growth rate first increases for small magnetic Reynolds number, Rm, but then levels off at an approximately constant value for intermediate values of Rm. For large enough Rm, a small-scale dynamo is excited and the growth rate of the field in this regime increases as Rm1/2. Regarding the nonlinear regime, the saturation level of the energy of the total magnetic field is independent of Rm when open boundaries are used. In the case of perfect-conductor boundaries, the saturation level first increases as a function of Rm, but then decreases proportional to Rm-1 for Rm 30, indicative of catastrophic quenching. These results suggest that the shear-induced magnetic helicity flux is efficient in alleviating catastrophic quenching when open boundaries are used. The horizontally averaged mean field is still weakly decreasing as a function of Rm even for open boundaries.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics / convection / turbulence / magnetic fields / stars: magnetic field / magnetic fields
© ESO, 2010
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