Pedagogical in style, this book provides insights into plasma behavior valid over twenty orders of magnitude in both time and space. The book assumes that the reader has a basic knowledge of magnetohydrodynamics and explains topics using detailed theoretical analysis supported by discussion of relevant experiments. This comprehensive approach gives the reader an understanding of the essential theoretical ideas and their application to real situations.
The book starts by explaining the topological concept of magnetic helicity and then develops a helicity-based model that predicts the ultimate state towards which magnetically-dominated plasmas evolve. The model predicts that no matter how messy or complicated the dynamics, a great range of plasma configurations always self-organize to a unique, simple final state. This self-organization, called relaxation, is a fundamental concept that unifies understanding of spheromaks, solar corona loops, interplanetary magnetic clouds, and astrophysical jets.
After establishing why relaxation occurs, the book then examines how relaxation occurs. It shows that relaxation involves a sequence of complex non-equilibrium dynamics including fast self-collimated plasma jets, kink instabilities, magnetic reconnection, and phenomena outside the realm of magnetohydrodynamics.
Relaxation of an Isolated Configuration to the Taylor State
Relaxation in Driven Configurations
The MHD Energy Principle, Helicity, and Taylor States
Survey of Spheromak Formation Schemes
Classification of Regimes: An Imperfect Analogy to Thermodynamics
Analysis of Isolated Cylindrical Spheromaks
The Role of the Wall
Analysis of Driven Spheromaks: Strong Coupling
Helicity Flow and Dynamos
Confinement and Transport in Spheromaks
Some Important Practical Issues
Basic Diagnostics for Spheromaks
Applications of Spheromaks
Initial Dynamics Leading to Relaxation: MHD Jets
Dynamics Associated with Relaxation: Kinks, Rayleigh-Taylor, Hard X-Rays
Beyond MHD: Whistler Waves and Fast Magnetic Reconnection
Zero-? Models for Solar and Space Phenomena: Helicity, Force-Free Equilibria
Finite-? Models and Experiments for Solar Phenomena: Collimation, Flows, Expansion
Beyond MHD: Extreme Particle Orbits in Helical Magnetic Fields
Finite-? Toroidal Magnetic Cloud Model
Astrophysical Jets, Accretion, Angular Momentum Removal, and Space Dynamos
Vector Identities and Operators
Bessel Orthogonality Relations
Transmission Lines, Pulse Forming Networks, and Transformers
Readership: Researchers, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates in plasma physics, solar physics, and astrophysics; mathematicians interested in helicity, topology, and self-organization.
Unique, no completing titles
This new revision contains discussion of dynamics underlying self-organization (Taylor relaxation)
This new revision contains updates on spheromak research since 2000