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Turbulent Liquid Metal Dynamo Experiments

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Date and time Nov 30, 2006
from 04:10 PM to 05:00 PM
Location McLennan Physics (MP) 102
Host Ue-Li Pen

Cary Forest

The self-generation of magnetic fields in planets and stars -- the dynamo effect -- is a long-standing problem of magnetohydrodynamics and plasma physics. Until recently, research on the self-excitation process has been primarily theoretical. In this talk, I will begin with a tutorial on how magnetic fields are generated in planets and stars, describing the "Standard Model" of self-excitation known as the alpha-omega dynamo. In this model, axisymmetric differential rotation can produce the majority of the magnetic field, but some non-axisymmetric, turbulence driven currents are also necessary. Understanding the conversion of turbulent kinetic energy in the fluid motion into electrical currents and thus magnetic fields, is a major challenge for both experiments and theory at this time. I will then report on recent results from a 1 meter diameter, spherical, liquid sodium dynamo experiment at the University of Wisconsin, in which the first clear evidence for these turbulence driven currents has been observed.



MP3 recording of talk
PDF presentation file
PPT presentation file (with voice synchronization)

Contact Name Ue-Li Pen
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