Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence and Angular Momentum Transport in Accretion Disks
AuthorPessah, Martin Elias
angular momentum transport
Committee ChairPsaltis, Dimitrios
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIt is currently believed that angular momentum transport in accretion disks is mediated by magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence driven by the magnetorotational instability (MRI). More than 15 years after its discovery, an accretion disk model that incorporates the MRI as the mechanism driving the MHD turbulence is still lacking. This dissertation constitutes the first in a series of steps towards establishing the formalism and methodology needed to move beyond the standard accretion disk model and incorporating the MRI as the mechanism enabling the accretion process. I begin by presenting a local linear stability analysis of a compressible, differentially rotating flow and addressing the evolution of the MRI beyond the weak-field limit when magnetic tension forces due to strong toroidal fields are considered. Then, I derive the first formal analytical proof showing that, during the exponential growth of the instability, the mean total stress produced by correlated MHD fluctuations is positive and leads to a net outward flux of angular momentum. I also show that some characteristics of the MHD stresses that are determined during this initial phase are roughly preserved in the turbulent saturated state observed in local numerical simulations. Motivated by these results, I present the first mean-field MHD model for angular momentum transport driven by the MRI that is able to account for a number of correlations among stresses found in local numerical simulations. I point out the relevance of a new type of correlation that couples the dynamical evolution of the Reynolds and Maxwell stresses and plays a key role in developing and sustaining the MHD turbulence. Finally, I address how the turbulent transport of angular momentum depends on the magnitude of the local shear. I show that turbulent MHD stresses in accretion disks cannot be described in terms of shear-viscosity.