FM12p.55 — High performance computing (HPC) simulations of laboratory experiments probing astrophysical processes

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Aug 4th at 6:00 PM until 6:00 PM

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Author(s): Giovanni Lapenta1

Institution(s): 1. KU Leuven

Laboratory astrophysics reproduces on laboratory scales processes that in reality are tremendously larger. Scaling can be formalised rigorously [1] but the best tool to bridge the scale gap is numerical simulation. It can consider the real astrophysical processes and the actual laboratory using very different scales. Simulations can bridge this tremendous gap and allow a rigorous validation of the applicability of laboratory results to astrophysical systems.
Laboratory astrophysics than calls into action a triangle among plasma astrophysics, laboratory experiments and high performance computing. However, not all methods of plasma simulation are capable of handling the task. MHD methods are scale-less and therefore capable of scaling from laboratory to the cosmos. But their limitation is that the actual intrinsic scales are lost. Kinetic methods recover those intrinsic scales but are less easily scaled. We focus on the evolution of flux ropes. Flux ropes are typical of the solar corona and interplanetary space, are observed in astrophysical jets around accretion disks (ranging in scale from forming stars to extragalactic jets produced by supermassive black holes) and are reproduced in experiments [2,3].
We report our modelling efforts in the modelling of flux ropes over all these scales using methods ranging from MHD [2,4] to full kinetic [5].
[1] Ryutov, D. D., et al. Magnetohydrodynamic scaling: from astrophysics to the laboratory. PoP, 8.5 (2001): 1804.
[2] Intrator, T. P., Sun, X., Lapenta, G., Dorf, L., & Furno, I. (2009). Experimental onset threshold and magnetic pressure pile-up for 3D reconnection. Nature Physics, 5(7), 521.
[3] Gekelman, W., E. Lawrence, and B. Van Compernolle. Three-dimensional reconnection involving magnetic flux ropes. ApJ 753.2 (2012): 131.
[4] Lapenta, Giovanni, et al. Kink instability of flux ropes anchored at one end and free at the other. JGR, 111.A12 (2006).
[5] Restante, A. L., Markidis, S., Lapenta, G., & Intrator, T. (2013). Geometrical investigation of the kinetic evolution of the magnetic field in a periodic flux rope. PoP, 20(8), 082501.