Boosting Magnetic Reconnection by Viscosity and Thermal Conduction [CL]

Nonlinear evolution of magnetic reconnection is investigated by means of magnetohydrodynamic simulations including uniform resistivity, uniform viscosity, and anisotropic thermal conduction. When viscosity exceeds resistivity (the magnetic Prandtl number Prm > 1), the viscous dissipation dominates outflow dynamics and leads to the decrease in the plasma density inside a current sheet. The low-density current sheet supports the excitation of the vortex. The thickness of the vortex is broader than that of the current for Prm > 1. The broader vortex flow more efficiently carries the upstream magnetic flux toward the reconnection region, and consequently boosts the reconnection. The reconnection rate increases with viscosity provided that thermal conduction is fast enough to take away the thermal energy increased by the viscous dissipation (the fluid Prandtl number Pr < 1). The result suggests the need to control the Prandtl numbers for the reconnection against the conventional resistive model.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Minoshima, T. Miyoshi and S. Imada
Tue, 12 Jul 16

Comments: 22 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in Physics of Plasmas