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Abstract
Separators, which are in many ways the threedimensional equivalent to twodimensional nulls, are important sites for magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection occurs in strong current layers which have very short length scales. The aim of this work is to explore the nature of current layers around separators. A separator is a special field line which lies along the intersection of two separatrix surfaces and forms the boundary between four topologically distinct flux domains. In particular, here the current layer about a separator that joins two 3D nulls and lies along the intersection of their separatrix surfaces is investigated. A magnetic configuration containing a single separator embedded in a uniform plasma with a uniform electric current parallel to the separator is considered. This initial magnetic setup, which is not in equilibrium, relaxes in a nonresistive manner to form an equilibrium. The relaxation is achieved using the 3D MHD code, Lare3d, with resistivity set to zero. A series of experiments with varying initial current are run to investigate the characteristics of the resulting current layers present in the final (quasi) equilibrium states. In each experiment, the separator collapses and a current layer forms along it. The dimensions and strength of the current layer increase with initial current. It is found that separator current layers formed from current parallel to the separator are twisted. Also the collapse of the separator is a process that evolves like an infinitetime singularity where the length, width and peak current in the layer grow slowly whilst the depth of the current layer decreases.
Original language  English 

Article number  A44 
Number of pages  15 
Journal  Astronomy & Astrophysics 
Volume  573 
Early online date  15 Dec 2014 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  Jan 2015 
Keywords
 Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
 3D nulls
 Separators
 Current layer
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Dive into the research topics of 'The nature of separator current layers in MHS equilibria I. Current parallel to the separator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.Projects
 1 Finished

Plasma Theory: Solar and Magnetospheric Plasma Theory
Hood, A. W. (PI), Mackay, D. H. (CoI), Neukirch, T. (CoI), Parnell, C. E. (CoI), Priest, E. (CoI), Archontis, V. (Researcher), Cargill, P. (Researcher), De Moortel, I. (Researcher) & Wright, A. N. (Researcher)
Science & Technology Facilities Council
1/04/13 → 31/03/16
Project: Standard