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Hydrodynamic instabilities are the driving force behind complex fluid processes that occur from everyday scenarios to the most extreme physical conditions of the universe. The Rayleigh-Taylor instability (RTI) develops when a heavy fluid is accelerated by a light fluid, resulting in sinking spikes, rising bubbles, and material mixing. Laser experiments have observed features of RTI that cannot be explained with pure hydrodynamic models. For this computational study we have implemented and verified extended physics mod- ules for anisotropic thermal conduction and self-generated magnetic fields in the FLASH- based Proteus code using the Braginskii plasma theory. We have used this code to simulate RTI in a basic plasma physics context. We obtain results up to 35 nanoseconds (ns) at various resolutions and discuss convergence and computational challenges. We find that magnetic fields as high as 1-10 megagauss (MG) are genereated near the fluid interface. Thermal conduction turns out to be essentially isotropic in these conditions, but plays the dominant role in the evolution of the system by smearing out small-scale structure and reducing the RT growth rate. This may account for the relatively feature- less RT spikes seen in experiments. We do not, however, observe mass extensions in our simulations. Without thermal conductivity, the magnetic field has the effect of generating what appears to be an additional RT mode which results in new structure at later times, when compared to pure hydro models. Additional physics modules and 3-D simulations are needed to complete our Braginskii model of RTI.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Scientiﬁc Computing in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Tomasz Plewa, Professor Directing Thesis; Michael Ionel Navon, Committee Member; Mark Sussman, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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