Friday, May 4, 2012

1205.0670 (Oleg N. Kirillov et al.)

A unifying picture of helical and azimuthal MRI, and the universal
significance of the Liu limit

Oleg N. Kirillov, Frank Stefani, Yasuhide Fukumoto
The magnetorotational instability (MRI) plays a key role for cosmic structure formation by triggering turbulence in the rotating flows of accretion disks that would be otherwise hydrodynamically stable. In the limit of small magnetic Prandtl number, the helical and the azimuthal version of MRI are known to be governed by a quite different scaling behaviour than the standard MRI with a vertical applied magnetic field. Using the short-wavelength approximation for an incompressible, resistive, and viscous rotating fluid we present a unified description of helical and azimuthal MRI, and we identify the universal character of the Liu limit Ro= -0.8284 for the critical Rossby number. From this universal behaviour we are also lead to the prediction of higher azimuthal wavenumber for rather small ratios of azimuthal to axial applied fields.
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