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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Numerical Investigations of Spherical Boundary-Driven Dynamos

  • Author(s): White, Katelyn
  • Advisor(s): Brummell, Nicholas H
  • Glatzmaier, Gary A
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

A fundamental process in physics is dynamo action which concerns how magnetic fields are generated and maintained against dissipative effects by motion in electrically conducting fluids. This process is ubiquitous in many astrophysical and geophysical contexts. Of particular interest are situations where the polarity of the large scale magnetic field reverses in planets and stars, for example in the Earth and the Sun. This thesis aims to shed light on fundamental aspects of these dynamo processes, motivated by these ultimate applications but also by their relationship to physical experiments designed to explore this problem. The most recent dynamo experiments have been mechanically forced through a boundary effect, such as impellers. We therefore investigate dynamos in a spherical shell forced mechanically by the motion of the boundary via numerical simulations in order to shed light on both the experiments and fundamental processes. We examine and elucidate dynamo mechanisms in such geometries and in particular the role of boundary conditions, and then extend such calculations to asymmetric velocity forcings at the boundary, which is a condition seen experimentally to be necessary for magnetic reversals. Ultimately we focus on localization of the boundary velocity forcing towards the spherical poles in efforts to more closely align our numerical simulations with current dynamo experiments.

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