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Fig. 3

image

Magnetic field topology and current distribution at four representative instants of the simulations (from top to bottom: t = 0, 30, 120, 196 s after the onset of the kink instability; model S), illustrating the onset and growth of the kink instability, the reconnection episode that follows, and the relaxation of the coronal loop towards a non-twisted state. The lines in the left column are magnetic field lines, with the blue lines having seed points very close to the centres of the flux rope footpoints. The axes are labelled in units of Mm. The right column shows iso-surfaces of the current density j = jcrit (see Eq. (7) and the following discussion).

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