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Why current-carrying magnetic flux tubes gobble up plasma and become thin as a result View all abstracts by submitter

Paul Bellan   Submitted: 2003-01-23 09:09

It is shown that if a current-carrying magnetic flux tube is bulged at its axial midpoint z=0 and constricted at its axial endpoints z=+h,-h, then plasma will be accelerated from z=+h,-h towards z=0 resulting in a situation similar to two water jets pointed at each other. The ingested plasma convects embedded, frozen-in toroidal magnetic flux from z=+h,-h to z=0. The counter-directed flows collide and stagnate at z=0 and in so doing (i) convert their translational kinetic energy into heat, (ii) increase the plasma density at z~0, and (iii) increase the embedded toroidal flux density at z~0. The increase in toroidal flux density at z~0 increases the toroidal field Bphi and hence increases the magnetic pinch force at z~0 and so causes a reduction of the flux tube radius at z~0. Thus, the flux tube develops an axially uniform cross-section, a decreased volume, an increased density, and an increased temperature. This model is proposed as a likely hypothesis for the long-standing mystery of why solar coronal loops are observed to be axially uniform, hot, and bright. (This is a short ASCII version of abstract - no LaTex)

Authors: P. M. Bellan

Publication Status: Physics of Plasmas (in press, to appear May 2003)
Last Modified: 2003-01-23 09:09
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