Flux ropes are localized structures in space plasma whose tube-like organized magnetic configuration can be well approximated by a force-free field model. Both numerical simulations and simple models suggest that the ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) can relax toward a minimum energy state, where magnetic helicity is conserved, characterized by force-free magnetic fields (Taylor relaxation). In this paper, we evaluate MHD rugged invariants within more than 100 flux ropes identified in the solar wind at 1 AU, showing that the magnetic and cross-helicity content carried out by these structures tend to be "attracted" toward a particular subphase in the parameter plane. The final configuration of the MHD rugged invariants in the parameter plane suggests indeed that flux ropes represent well-organized structures coming from the dynamical evolution of MHD turbulent cascade. These observational results, along with a simple model based on a truncated set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations for both the velocity and magnetic field Fourier coefficients, thus, support a scenario in which the flux ropes naturally come out from the ideal MHD decay to large-scale magnetic field in space plasmas, probably governed by relaxation processes similar to those observed in laboratory plasmas.

RELAXATION PROCESSES WITHIN FLUX ROPES IN SOLAR WIND

CARBONE, Vincenzo;Perri S;LEPRETI, Fabio;VELTRI, Pierluigi
2016

Abstract

Flux ropes are localized structures in space plasma whose tube-like organized magnetic configuration can be well approximated by a force-free field model. Both numerical simulations and simple models suggest that the ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) can relax toward a minimum energy state, where magnetic helicity is conserved, characterized by force-free magnetic fields (Taylor relaxation). In this paper, we evaluate MHD rugged invariants within more than 100 flux ropes identified in the solar wind at 1 AU, showing that the magnetic and cross-helicity content carried out by these structures tend to be "attracted" toward a particular subphase in the parameter plane. The final configuration of the MHD rugged invariants in the parameter plane suggests indeed that flux ropes represent well-organized structures coming from the dynamical evolution of MHD turbulent cascade. These observational results, along with a simple model based on a truncated set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations for both the velocity and magnetic field Fourier coefficients, thus, support a scenario in which the flux ropes naturally come out from the ideal MHD decay to large-scale magnetic field in space plasmas, probably governed by relaxation processes similar to those observed in laboratory plasmas.
solar wind; magnetohydrodynamics (MHD); turbulence; interplanetary medium; magnetic fields
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/145372
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