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Title: Fluid closures for the modelling of reconnection and instabilities in magnetotail current sheets
Authors: Ng, Jonathan
Advisors: Bhattacharjee, Amitava
Contributors: Astrophysical Sciences—Plasma Physics Program Department
Subjects: Physics
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The integration of kinetic effects in fluid models is important for global simulations of the Earth’s magnetosphere. Although magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), which is currently used for large scale modelling in space weather research, is a useful tool, there are other physical effects not included in the MHD model which are important at smaller scales such as the Hall effect, the pressure tensor and electron inertia. In this thesis we use a two-fluid ten-moment model, which includes the pressure tensor of both species, to study some of the phenomena associated with magnetotail dynamics – magnetic reconnection, current sheet instabilities and ballooning instabilities, followed by global simulations in which these processes interact. We first introduce an extension of existing ten-moment models by using a nonlocal heat flux, which approximates Landau damping in the fluid framework, followed by a study of magnetic reconnection during the merging of two flux tubes or magnetic islands. We then perform linear calculations and simulations of the drift-kink and lower hybrid drift instabilities in thin current sheets, and simulations of the ballooning instability in current sheets with curved mangetic geometries. Comparisons to kinetic simulations show the improvements compared to MHD and standard two-fluid models as well as the limitations of the ten-moment model. We then perform simulations which include a dipole field and self-consistent formation of the magnetotail current sheet and show that the stretching and disruption of the sheet, which is expected to occur during magnetic substorms, can be captured by the model. Finally, in an exploration of how the moment equations can be extended and what additional insight is gained from higher moment models, we use the maximum entropy method to reconstruct particle distributions in reconnection regions. The results show that without information other than the moments, the model can reproduce the general structure of the distributions but not all of the finer details.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Plasma Physics

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