Role of boundary conditions in helicoidal flow collimation: Consequences for the von Kármán sodium dynamo experiment

Abstract : We present hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of liquid sodium flow with the PLUTO compressible MHD code to investigate influence of magnetic boundary conditions on the collimation of helicoidal motions. We use a simplified cartesian geometry to represent the flow dynamics in the vicinity of one cavity of a multiblades impeller inspired by those used in the Von-Kármán-sodium (VKS) experiment. We show that the impinging of the large-scale flow upon the impeller generates a coherent helicoidal vortex inside the blades, located at a distance from the upstream blade piloted by the incident angle of the flow. This vortex collimates any existing magnetic field lines leading to an enhancement of the radial magnetic field that is stronger for ferromagnetic than for conducting blades. The induced magnetic field modifies locally the velocity fluctuations, resulting in an enhanced helicity. This process possibly explains why dynamo action is more easily triggered in the VKS experiment when using soft iron impellers.
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J. Varela, S. Brun, Bérengère Dubrulle, C. Nore. Role of boundary conditions in helicoidal flow collimation: Consequences for the von Kármán sodium dynamo experiment. Physical Review E : Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, American Physical Society, 2015, 92 (6), pp.063015. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.92.063015⟩. ⟨cea-01367262⟩

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