Triad interactions and the bidirectional turbulent cascade of magnetic helicity

Author: 

Linkmann, M
Dallas, V

Publication Date: 

1 May 2017

Journal: 

Physical Review Fluids

Last Updated: 

2020-07-15T07:40:17.867+01:00

Issue: 

5

Volume: 

2

DOI: 

10.1103/PhysRevFluids.2.054605

page: 

054605-

abstract: 

© 2017 American Physical Society. Using direct numerical simulations, we demonstrate that magnetic helicity exhibits a bidirectional turbulent cascade at high but finite magnetic Reynolds numbers. Despite the injection of positive magnetic helicity in the flow, we observe that magnetic helicity of opposite signs is generated between large and small scales. We explain these observations by carrying out an analysis of the magnetohydrodynamic equations reduced to triad interactions using the Fourier helical decomposition. Within this framework, the direct cascade of positive magnetic helicity arises through triad interactions that are associated with small-scale dynamo action, while the occurrence of negative magnetic helicity at large scales is explained through triad interactions that are related to stretch-twist-fold dynamics and small-scale dynamo action, which compete with the inverse cascade of positive magnetic helicity. Our analytical and numerical results suggest that the direct cascade of magnetic helicity is a finite magnetic Reynolds number Rm effect that will vanish in the limit Rm→∞.

Symplectic id: 

732173

Submitted to ORA: 

Submitted

Publication Type: 

Journal Article