Magnetic reconnection and stochastic plasmoid chains in high-Lundquist-number plasmas

N. F. Loureiro, Ravi Samtaney, A. A. Schekochihin, D. A. Uzdensky

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115 Scopus citations

Abstract

A numerical study of magnetic reconnection in the large-Lundquist-number (S), plasmoid-dominated regime is carried out for S up to 10 7. The theoretical model of Uzdensky [Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 235002 (2010)] is confirmed and partially amended. The normalized reconnection rate is Ẽ eff ∼ 0.02 independently of S for S ≫ 10 4. The plasmoid flux (ψ) and half-width (w x) distribution functions scale as f (ψ) ∼ - ψ -2 and f (w x) ∼ w x -2. The joint distribution of ψ and w x shows that plasmoids populate a triangular region w x ≲ψ/B 0, where B 0 is the reconnecting field. It is argued that this feature is due to plasmoid coalescence. Macroscopic "monster" plasmoids with w x ∼ 10 % of the system size are shown to emerge in just a few Alfvén times, independently of S, suggesting that large disruptive events are an inevitable feature of large-S reconnection. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)042303
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 14 2012

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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