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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mean field magnetohydrodynamics of accretion disks

  • Author(s): Shu, FH
  • Galli, D
  • Lizano, S
  • Glassgold, AE
  • Diamond, PH
  • et al.

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We consider the accretion process in a disk with magnetic fields that are dragged in from the interstellar medium by gravitational collapse. Two diffusive processes are at work in the system: (1) "viscous" torques exerted by turbulent and magnetic stresses, and (2) "resistive" redistribution of mass with respect to the magnetic flux arising from the imperfect conduction of current. In steady state, self-consistency between the two rates of drift requires that a relationship exists between the coefficients of turbulent viscosity and turbulent resistivity. Ignoring any interactions with a stellar magnetosphere, we solve the steady-state equations for a magnetized disk under the gravitational attraction of a mass point and threaded by an amount of magnetic flux consistent with calculations of magnetized gravitational collapse in star formation. Our model mean field equations have an exact analytical solution that corresponds to magnetically diluted Keplerian rotation about the central mass point. The solution yields the strength of the magnetic field and the surface density as functions of radial position in the disk and their connection with the departure from pure Keplerian rotation in representative cases. We compare the predictions of the theory with the available observations concerning T Tauri stars, FU Orionis stars, and low- and high-mass protostars. Finally, we speculate on the physical causes for high and low states of the accretion disks that surround young stellar objects. One of the more important results of this study is the physical derivation of analytic expressions for the turbulent viscosity and turbulent resistivity. © 2007. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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