A Caltech Library Service

The Richtmyer–Meshkov instability in magnetohydrodynamics

Wheatley, V. and Pullin, D. I. (2009) The Richtmyer–Meshkov instability in magnetohydrodynamics. Physics of Fluids, 21 (8). 082102. ISSN 1070-6631.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


In ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), the Richtmyer–Meshkov instability can be suppressed by the presence of a magnetic field. The interface still undergoes some growth, but this is bounded for a finite magnetic field. A model for this flow has been developed by considering the stability of an impulsively accelerated, sinusoidally perturbed density interface in the presence of a magnetic field that is parallel to the acceleration. This was accomplished by analytically solving the linearized initial value problem in the framework of ideal incompressible MHD. To assess the performance of the model, its predictions are compared to results obtained from numerical simulation of impulse driven linearized, shock driven linearized, and nonlinear compressible MHD for a variety of cases. It is shown that the analytical linear model collapses the data from the simulations well. The predicted interface behavior well approximates that seen in compressible linearized simulations when the shock strength, magnetic field strength, and perturbation amplitude are small. For such cases, the agreement with interface behavior that occurs in nonlinear simulations is also reasonable. The effects of increasing shock strength, magnetic field strength, and perturbation amplitude on both the flow and the performance of the model are investigated. This results in a detailed exposition of the features and behavior of the MHD Richtmyer–Meshkov flow. For strong shocks, large initial perturbation amplitudes, and strong magnetic fields, the linear model may give a rough estimate of the interface behavior, but it is not quantitatively accurate. In all cases examined the accuracy of the model is quantified and the flow physics underlying any discrepancies is examined

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 2009 American Institute of Physics. Received 8 February 2009; accepted 23 June 2009; published 25 August 2009. V. Wheatley and D. I. Pullin were supported by the Academic Strategic Alliances Program of the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative ASCI/ASAP under Subcontract No. B341492 of DOE Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48. R. Samtaney was supported by U.S. DOE Contract No. DEAC02- 09CH11466.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Academic Strategic Alliance Program, Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI/ASAP)B341492
U. S. Department of EnergyW-7405-ENG-48
U. S. Department of EnergyDE-AC02-09CH11466
Subject Keywords:compressible flow; flow instability; flow simulation; magnetohydrodynamics; shock waves.
Issue or Number:8
Classification Code:PACS: 47.65.-d; 47.20.Ma; 47.40.Nm; 47.11.-j
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20091019-120155094
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The Richtmyer--Meshkov instability in magnetohydrodynamics V. Wheatley, R. Samtaney, and D. I. Pullin, Phys. Fluids 21, 082102 (2009), DOI:10.1063/1.3194303
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16383
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:19 Oct 2009 22:21
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 01:11

Repository Staff Only: item control page