Journal Article

Kolmogorov dissipation scales in weakly ionized plasmas

V. Krishan and Z. Yoshida

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 4, pages 2039-2044
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14705.x
Kolmogorov dissipation scales in weakly ionized plasmas

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In a weakly ionized plasma, the evolution of the magnetic field is described by a ‘generalized Ohm's law’ that includes the Hall effect and the ambipolar diffusion terms. These terms introduce additional spatial and time-scales which play a decisive role in the cascading and the dissipation mechanisms in magnetohydrodynamic turbulence. We determine the Kolmogorov dissipation scales for the viscous, the resistive and the ambipolar dissipation mechanisms. The plasma, depending on its properties and the energy injection rate, may preferentially select one of these dissipation scales, thus determining the shortest spatial scale of the supposedly self-similar spectral distribution of the magnetic field. The results are illustrated taking the partially ionized part of the solar atmosphere as an example. Thus, the shortest spatial scale of the supposedly self-similar spectral distribution of the solar magnetic field is determined by any of the four dissipation scales given by the viscosity, the Spitzer resistivity (electron–ion collisions), the resistivity due to electron–neutral collisions and the ambipolar diffusivity. It is found that the ambipolar diffusion dominates for reasonably large energy injection rate. The robustness of the magnetic helicity in the partially ionized solar atmosphere would facilitate the formation of self-organized vortical structures.

Keywords: MHD; plasmas; turbulence; Sun: magnetic fields; Sun: photosphere

Journal Article.  3380 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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