Magnetohydrodynamic convection in a vertical slot with horizontal magnetic field

Ulrich Burr*, Leopold Barleon, Paul Jochmann, Arkady Tsinober

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents an experimental study of magnetohydrodynamic convection in a tall vertical slot under the influence of a horizontal magnetic field. The test fluid is an eutectic sodium potassium Na22 K78 alloy with a small Prandtl number of Pr ≈ 0:02. The experimental setup covers Rayleigh numbers in the range 103 ≲ Ra ≲ 8 × 104 and Hartmann numbers 0 < M < 1600. The effect of the magnetic field on the convective heat transport is determined not only by damping as expected from Joule dissipation but also, for magnetic fields not too strong, the convective heat transfer may be considerably enhanced compared to ordinary hydrodynamic (OHD) flow. Estimates of the isotropy properties of the flow by a four-element temperature probe demonstrate that the increase in convective heat transport accompanies the formation of strong local anisotropy of the turbulent eddies in the sense of an alignment of the main direction of vorticity with the magnetic field. The reduced three-dimensional nonlinearities in non-isotropic flow favour the formation of largescale vortex structures compared to OHD flow, which are more effective for convective heat transport. Along with the formation of quasi-two-dimensional vortex structures, temperature fluctuations may be considerably enhanced in a magnetic field that is not too strong. However, above Hartmann numbers M ≳ 400 the formerly strongly time-dependent flow suddenly becomes stationary with an extended region of high convective heat transport at stationary flow. Finally, for very high Hartmann numbers the convective motion is strongly suppressed and the heat transport is reduced to a state close to pure heat conduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-40
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2003


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