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Global bifurcations to subcritical magnetorotational dynamo action in Keplerian shear flow

  • A. Riols (a1) (a2), F. Rincon (a1) (a2), C. Cossu (a3), G. Lesur (a4), P.-Y. Longaretti (a4), G. I. Ogilvie (a5) and J. Herault (a6)...

Abstract

Magnetorotational dynamo action in Keplerian shear flow is a three-dimensional nonlinear magnetohydrodynamic process, the study of which is relevant to the understanding of accretion processes and magnetic field generation in astrophysics. Transition to this form of dynamo action is subcritical and shares many characteristics with transition to turbulence in non-rotating hydrodynamic shear flows. This suggests that these different fluid systems become active through similar generic bifurcation mechanisms, which in both cases have eluded detailed understanding so far. In this paper, we build on recent work on the two problems to investigate numerically the bifurcation mechanisms at work in the incompressible Keplerian magnetorotational dynamo problem in the shearing box framework. Using numerical techniques imported from dynamical systems research, we show that the onset of chaotic dynamo action at magnetic Prandtl numbers larger than unity is primarily associated with global homoclinic and heteroclinic bifurcations of nonlinear magnetorotational dynamo cycles born out of saddle-node bifurcations. These global bifurcations are found to be supplemented by local bifurcations of cycles marking the beginning of period-doubling cascades. The results suggest that nonlinear magnetorotational dynamo cycles provide the pathway to injection of both kinetic and magnetic energy for the problem of transition to turbulence and dynamo action in incompressible magnetohydrodynamic Keplerian shear flow in the absence of an externally imposed magnetic field. Studying the nonlinear physics and bifurcations of these cycles in different regimes and configurations may subsequently help to understand better the physical conditions of excitation of magnetohydrodynamic turbulence and instability-driven dynamos in a variety of astrophysical systems and laboratory experiments. The detailed characterization of global bifurcations provided for this three-dimensional subcritical fluid dynamics problem may also prove useful for the problem of transition to turbulence in hydrodynamic shear flows.

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Corresponding author

Email address for correspondence: francois.rincon@irap.omp.eu

References

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Global bifurcations to subcritical magnetorotational dynamo action in Keplerian shear flow

  • A. Riols (a1) (a2), F. Rincon (a1) (a2), C. Cossu (a3), G. Lesur (a4), P.-Y. Longaretti (a4), G. I. Ogilvie (a5) and J. Herault (a6)...

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