Volume 521, October 2010
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||15 October 2010|
An investigation of magnetic field distortions in accretion discs around neutron stars
I. Analysis of the poloidal field component*
SISSA and INFN, via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Department of Physics, University of Padova, via Marzolo 8, 35131 Padova, Italy
3 Department of Physics (Astrophysics), University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH, UK
Accepted: 7 June 2010
We report results from calculations investigating stationary magnetic field configurations in accretion discs around magnetised neutron stars. Our strategy is to start with a very simple model and then progressively improve it, providing complementary insight into results obtained with large numerical simulations. In our first model, presented here, we work in the kinematic approximation and consider the stellar magnetic field as being a dipole aligned with the stellar rotation axis and perpendicular to the disc plane, while the flow in the disc is taken to be steady and axisymmetric. The behaviour in the radial direction is then independent of that in the azimuthal direction. We investigate the distortion of the field caused by interaction with the disc matter, solving the induction equation numerically in full 2D. The influence of turbulent diffusivity and fluid velocity on the poloidal field configuration is analysed, including discussion of outflows from the top and bottom of the disc. We find that the distortions increase with increasing magnetic Reynolds number (calculated using the radial velocity). However, a single global parameter does not give an adequate description in different parts of the disc and we use instead a “magnetic distortion function” Dm(r,θ) (a magnetic Reynolds number defined locally). Where Dm≪ 1 (near to the inner edge of the disc) there is little distortion, but where Dm > 1 (most of the rest of the disc), there is considerable distortion and the field becomes weaker than the dipole would have been. Between these two regions, there is a transition zone where the field is amplified and can have a local minimum and maximum. The location of this zone depends sensitively on the diffusivity. The results depend very little on the boundary conditions at the top of the disc.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / magnetic fields / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / turbulence / methods: numerical / X-rays: binaries
Appendix A is only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2010
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