Astrophysics (Index)About


(dynamics of electrically conducting fluids)

Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) is fluid dynamics that includes the effects of electrical conductivity of the fluids. (Note that the term MHD is definitely used for compressible fluids, even though the term "hydrodynamics" is sometimes used specifically to indicate fluid dynamics of non-compressible fluids.) The field was initiated by Hannes Alfvén who coined the word in the 1940s. It specifically deals with the acceleration of the fluid due to electromagnetic (EM) forces, including those EM forces resulting from that acceleration, but approximation methods assuming some of these forces are negligible can be useful. In its full form, it more-or-less consists of the combination of fluid dynamics' Navier-Stokes equations and electrodynamics' Maxwell's equations.

Applications in astrophysics include modeling plasma in the interplanetary medium and interstellar medium as well as star models, both the interior and the atmosphere. Such a system involving plasma is sometimes termed a magneto-plasma system. Other applications include geophysics (the fluid interior of the Earth), engineering and medicine.

In some astrophysical phenomena, the electrical resistance is minor and its MHD can be effectively simplified by ignoring it. The phrase resistive MHD indicates that electrical resistance is specifically included. Among the other variants is Hall MHD (HMHD), taking into account the Hall effect.

(physics,magnetism,fluid dynamics)
Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
Alfvén wave
alpha disk
computational astrophysics
current sheet
Faraday rotation
Lorentz force
magnetic induction
N-body simulation
Navier-Stokes equations (NS equations)
plasma astrophysics
shearing box
shock wave
spiral density wave
turbulent pressure