Evolution of the magnetic field generated by the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2014
The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in an ionized plasma is studied with a focus on the magnetic field generation via the Biermann battery (baroclinic) mechanism. The problem is solved by using direct numerical simulations of two counter-directed flows in 2D geometry. The simulations demonstrate the formation of eddies and their further interaction and merging resulting in a large single vortex. In contrast to general belief, it is found that the instability generated magnetic field may exhibit significantly different structures from the vorticity field, despite the mathematically identical equations controlling the magnetic field and vorticity evolution. At later stages of the nonlinear instability development, the magnetic field may keep growing even after the hydrodynamic vortex strength has reached its maximum and started decaying due to dissipation.