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Force balance in convectively driven dynamos with no inertia

  • David W. Hughes (a1) and Fausto Cattaneo (a2)


We study dynamo action in rotating, plane layer Boussinesq convection in the absence of inertia. This allows a decomposition of the velocity into a thermal part driven by buoyancy, and a magnetic part driven by the Lorentz force. We have identified three families of solutions, defined in terms of what is the dominant contribution to the velocity. In weak field dynamos the dominant contribution is the thermal component, in super strong field dynamos the dominant contribution is magnetic and in strong field dynamos the two components are comparable. For each of these solutions we investigate the force balance in the momentum equation to determine the relative importance of the viscous, buoyancy, Coriolis and magnetic forces. We do this by extracting the solenoidal part of the individual terms in the momentum equation, thereby removing their pressure contributions. This is numerically preferable to the more common practice of taking the curl of the momentum equation, which introduces an extra derivative. We find that, irrespective of the type of dynamo solution, the dynamics is controlled by the horizontal forces (in projection). Furthermore, in the progression from weak to strong to super strong dynamos, we find that the viscous forces in the thermal equation become negligible, thereby leading to a balance between buoyancy and Coriolis forces. On the other hand, no corresponding trend is observed in the magnetic part of the momentum equation: the viscous stresses always remain significant. This can be attributed to the different degrees of smoothness of the Coriolis and Lorentz forces, the latter having contributions from strong, filamentary structures. We discuss how our findings relate to dynamo solutions in which viscosity plays no role whatsoever – so-called Taylor states.


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Force balance in convectively driven dynamos with no inertia

  • David W. Hughes (a1) and Fausto Cattaneo (a2)


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