Journal of Fluid Mechanics

On hydromagnetic oscillations in a rotating cavity

Roger F.  Gans a1p1
a1 Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109

Article author query
gans rf   [Google Scholar] 


Time-dependent hydromagnetic phenomena in a rotating spherical cavity are investigated in the framework of an interior boundary-layer expansion. The interior problem is shown to contain waves whose frequencies are of order ω, Aω and A2ω, where ω is the rotation rate of the cavity and A2 = B2/4πρωA2 [double less-than sign] 1 is the Alfvén number. B is an imposed magnetic field, ρ the fluid density and R the radius of the cavity. The first type of wave is a modification of the hydro-dynamic inertial wave, the second is a pseudo-geostrophic wave and is involved in spin-up, and the third is related to the MAC waves of Braginskiy (1967).

It is shown that the MAC waves must satisfy more than the usual normal boundary conditions and that reference must be made to the boundary-layer solution to resolve the ambiguity regarding which conditions are to be taken. For normal liquid metals of small magnetic Prandtl number the MAC waves must satisfy full magnetic boundary conditions; only the no-slip conditions may be deferred to the boundary layers.

The boundary-layer structure is investigated in detail to display the interactions between applied field, viscosity, electrical conductivity, frequency and latitude. The decay of the pseudo-geostrophic modes, essentially the spin-up problem, is discussed for a non-axisymmetric constraining field and non-zero container conductivity. Three regimes exist, depending on container conductivity.

(Published Online March 29 2006)
(Received February 1 1971)
(Revised July 20 1971)

p1 Present address: Department of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.