Presentation Open Access

Low Prandtl Number Rayleigh-Bénard Convection in a Vertical Magnetic Field

Schindler, Felix; Zürner, Till; Vogt, Tobias; Eckert, Sven; Schumacher, Jörg

Lecture (Conference)

11th PAMIR International Conference- Fundamental and Applied MHD July 1-5, 2019, Reims, EVEM France

We are investigating turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection in liquid metal under the
influence of a vertical magnetic field. Utilizing a combination of thermocouple (TC) and
ultrasound-Doppler-velocimetry (UDV) measurements gives us the possibility to directly
determine the temperature and velocity field, respectively. Further this gives us the
possibility to observe changes in the large-scale flow structure.
By applying magnetic fields to the liquid metal convection, we quantified changes of heat
and momentum transport in the liquid metal alloy GaInSn. The experimental results of our
setup agree well with theory findings and direct numerical simulations of the dynamics in
our convection cell. The requirement of large computing power at these parameters makes
it hard to simulate long-term dynamics with time scales from minutes to several hours. Thus
to investigate slow developing dynamics like sloshing, rotation, or deformation of the large-
scale flow structure model experiments are indispensable.
We demonstrate the suppression of the convective flow by a vertical magnetic field in a
cylindrical cell of aspect ratio 1. In this setup Rayleigh numbers up to 6·107 are
investigated. The flow structure at low Hartmann numbers is a single roll large scale
circulation (LSC). Increasing the Hartmann number leads to a transition from the single-roll
LSC into a cell structure. An even stronger magnetic field supresses the flow in the center
of the cell completely and expels the flow to the side walls.
Even above the critical Hartmann numbers corresponding to the Chandrasekhar limit for
the onset of magnetoconvection in a fluid layer without lateral boundaries we still observe
remarkable flows near the side walls. The destabilising effect of the non-conducting side
walls was predicted by theory and simulations, and is here for the first time experimentally


Support by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft with grants VO 2332/1-1 and SCHU 1410/29-1
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  • 10.1017/jfm.2018.479

  • 10.1017/jfm.2019.556

  • 10.1017/S0022112096004491

  • 10.1073/pnas.1417741112

  • 10.1103/physreve.62.r4520


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