Exploring nonnormality in magnetohydrodynamic rotating shear flows: application to astrophysical accretion disks [HEAP]


The emergence of turbulence in shear flows is a well-investigated field. Yet, one of major issues is the apparent contradiction between linear stability analysis quoting a flow to be stable and results from experiments and simulations proving it to be otherwise. There is some success, in particular in astrophysical systems, based on Magneto-Rotational Instability (MRI). However, MRI requires the system to be weakly magnetized, which is not a feature of general magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) flows. Nevertheless, linear perturbations of such flows are nonnormal in nature which argues for an origin of nonlinearity therein. The idea is, nonnormal perturbations could produce huge transient energy growth (TEG), which may lead to non-linearity and further turbulence. However, so far, nonnormal effects in shear flows have not been explored much in the presence of magnetic fields. Here, we consider the perturbed visco-resistive incompressible MHD shear flows with rotation in general. Basically we consider the magnetized version of Orr-Sommerfeld and Squire equations and their magnetic analogues in the presence of Coriolis effect. We solve the equations using a pseudospectral eigenvalue approach. We investigate the possible emergence of instability and large TEG in three different flows: the Keplerian, constant angular momentum and plane Couette flows. We show that, above a certain value of magnetic field, instability and TEG both stop occurring. We also show that TEG is maximum near the regions of instability in the wave number space for a given magnetic field and Reynolds number. Rotating shear flows are ubiquitous in astrophysics, especially accretion disks, where molecular viscosity is too low to account for observed data. The primary accepted cause of energy-momentum transport therein is turbulent viscosity. Hence, these results would have important implications in astrophysics.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Bhatia and B. Mukhopadhyay
Thu, 8 Sep 16

Comments: 16 pages including 12 figures; accepted for publication in Physical Review Fluids