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Magnetohydrodynamics

3 Processes with MHD

1) Relative movement of a conducting fluid and magnetic field causes an emf – electromagnetic
force – of magnitude |u x B| to develop in accordance with Faraday's Law. This movement
induces a voltage – current density – J.
2) This induced current induces a secondary magnetic field according to Ampere's Law. This gives
both an imposed magnetic field (original) and an induced magnetic field (result from induced
current from process 1). Generally the effect is that the fluid appears to drag the magnetic field
along with it.
3) The combined magnetic field (B) interacts with the induced current density (J) to give rise to a
Lorentz Force, F. F = J x B, per unit volume. This acts on the conductor and is directed to
inhibit the relative movement of the fluid and magnetic field.
In some cases the 2nd process may not occur. Generally for MHD applications, the 2nd process does not
occur, unless dealing with huge applications such as astrophysics or geophysics or similar.

MHD Duct flow → Hartmann flow.

B affects u. Magnetic field affects velocity through Lorentz force. In MHD, u does not affect B except
in geophysics due to HUGE scale.

The extent to which velocity field influences an imposed magnetic field depends on the product of:
1) typical velocity of motion – u
2) conductivity of the fluid – σ
3) characteristic length scale – L

σuL = σ*u*L determines the ratio of (induced magnetic field) / (imposed magnetic field).

Significance of L:
Modest current density (J) spread over a large area can produce a large magnetic field (E). Whereas the
same current density spread over a small area results in a small magnetic field.

J = μσ(|u x B|)
μ= magnetic permeability
σ= conductivity of fluid
u= velocity field
B= magnetic field

Magnetic permeability is a measure of the ability of a material to support the formation of a magnetic
field within itself.

The magnetic permeability of free space is approximately μ= 4π x 10-7

The Magnetic Reynold's Number : Rem= μ*σ*u*L = μσuL

If Rem < .1 then neglect the induced magnetic field (2nd process can be ignored)
If Rem > 1 then take induced magnetic field into account. (2nd process occurs)
J = σE

When Rem >> 1


1) Magnetic field lines act rather like elastic bands frozen into the conducting medium
2) Magnetic flux passing through any closed material loop tends to be conserved during the
motion of the fluid.
3) Small disturbances of the medium tend to result in near-elastic oscillations with the magnetic
field. In a fluid, this results in Alfven waves.

When Rem << 1


1) Magnetic field is dissipative rather than elastic. Velocity is going down under influence of
magnetic field. Magnetic field acts as a drag force.
2) Mechanical motion (Flow) is damped by converting KE to heat by Joule dissipation.

A particle moving with velocity u and charge q experiences a force given by :


F = qEs + qEi +q(u x B)

Where:
qEs = electrostatic force
qEi = electromagnetic force (from induced electric field)
q(u x B) = Lorentz force which arises from motion of charge in a magnetic field