Numerical solutions of the MHD equations are used to investigate the nonlinear behavior of the tearing instability. The mode evolves from a linearly growing excitation, followed by a period of greatly reduced nonlinear growth. Constant-Ψ solutions evolve much more slowly than comparable nonconstant-Ψ modes. The nonconstant-Ψ computations indicate a reduction by approximately 20% of the energy in the initial shear layer. For long-wavelength solutions, secondary-flow vortices, opposite in direction to the linear vortices, generate a new magnetic island centered at the initial x-point.
Unstable Current Systems and Plasma Instabilities in Astrophysics
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