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Abstract
The definition and measurement of magnetic reconnection in threedimensional magnetic fields with multiple reconnection sites is a challenging problem, particularly in fields lacking null points. We propose a generalization of the familiar twodimensional concept of a magnetic flux function to the case of a threedimensional field connecting two planar boundaries. In this initial analysis, we require the normal magnetic field to have the same distribution on both boundaries. Using hyperbolic fixed points of the field line mapping, and their global stable and unstable manifolds, we define a unique flux partition of the magnetic field. This partition is more complicated than the corresponding (wellknown) construction in a twodimensional field, owing to the possibility of heteroclinic points and chaotic magnetic regions. Nevertheless, we show how the partition reconnection rate is readily measured with the generalized flux function. We relate our partition reconnection rate to the common definition of threedimensional reconnection in terms of integrated parallel electric field. An analytical example demonstrates the theory and shows how the flux partition responds to an isolated reconnection event. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3657424]
Original language  English 

Article number  102118 
Number of pages  10 
Journal  Physics of Plasmas 
Volume  18 
Issue number  10 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  Oct 2011 
Keywords
 chaos
 magnetic reconnection
 plasma magnetohydrodynamics
 PARALLEL ELECTRICFIELDS
 HAMILTONIANSYSTEMS
 CHAOTIC ADVECTION
 TRANSPORT
 MAPS
 DYNAMICS
 MANIFOLDS
 FLOWS
 SETS
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Dive into the research topics of 'A generalized flux function for threedimensional magnetic reconnection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.Projects
 1 Finished

Parallel Computing Resources UK MHD: Parallel computing resources
Science & Technology Facilities Council
1/12/09 → 30/11/12
Project: Standard