Journal of Fluid Mechanics



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Regular shock refraction at an oblique planar density interface in magnetohydrodynamics


V. WHEATLEY a1, D. I. PULLIN a1 and R. SAMTANEY a2
a1 Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories, 301-46, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
a2 Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08543, USA

Article author query
wheatley v   [Google Scholar] 
pullin di   [Google Scholar] 
samtaney r   [Google Scholar] 
 

Abstract

We consider the problem of regular refraction (where regular implies all waves meet at a single point) of a shock at an oblique planar contact discontinuity separating conducting fluids of different densities in the presence of a magnetic field aligned with the incident shock velocity. Planar ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations indicate that the presence of a magnetic field inhibits the deposition of vorticity on the shocked contact. We show that the shock refraction process produces a system of five to seven plane waves that may include fast, intermediate, and slow MHD shocks, slow compound waves, $180^\circ$ rotational discontinuities, and slow-mode expansion fans that intersect at a point. In all solutions, the shocked contact is vorticity free and hence stable. These solutions are not unique, but differ in the types of waves that participate. The set of equations governing the structure of these multiple-wave solutions is obtained in which fluid property variation is allowed only in the azimuthal direction about the wave-intersection point. Corresponding solutions are referred to as either quintuple-points, sextuple-points, or septuple-points, depending on the number of participating waves. A numerical method of solution is described and examples are compared to the results of numerical simulations for moderate magnetic field strengths. The limit of vanishing magnetic field at fixed permeability and pressure is studied for two solution types. The relevant solutions correspond to the hydrodynamic triple-point with the shocked contact replaced by a singular structure consisting of a wedge, whose angle scales with the applied field magnitude, bounded by either two slow compound waves or two $180^\circ$ rotational discontinuities, each followed by a slow-mode expansion fan. These bracket the MHD contact which itself cannot support a tangential velocity jump in the presence of a non-parallel magnetic field. The magnetic field within the singular wedge is finite and the shock-induced change in tangential velocity across the wedge is supported by the expansion fans that form part of the compound waves or follow the rotational discontinuities. To verify these findings, an approximate leading-order asymptotic solution appropriate for both flow structures was computed. The full and asymptotic solutions are compared quantitatively.

(Received November 10 2003)
(Revised July 2 2004)



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