An overview of flux braiding experiments

A. L. Wilmot-Smith (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)
    33 Downloads (Pure)


    In a number of papers dating back to the 1970s, Parker has hypothesized that, in a perfectly ideal environment, complex photospheric motions acting on a continuous magnetic field will result in the formation of tangential discontinuities corresponding to singular currents. I review direct numerical simulations of the problem and find that the evidence points to a tendency for thin but finite-thickness current layers to form, with thickness exponentially decreasing in time. Given a finite resistivity, these layers will eventually become important and cause the dynamical process of energy release. Accordingly, a body of work focuses on evolution under continual boundary driving. The coronal volume evolves into a highly dynamic but statistically steady state where quantities have a temporally and spatially intermittent nature and where the Poynting flux and dissipation are decoupled on short time scales. Although magnetic braiding is found to be a promising coronal heating mechanism, much work remains to determine its true viability. Some suggestions for future study are offered.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20140265
    Number of pages15
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Issue number2042
    Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2015


    • Corona
    • Magnetic fields
    • Magnetic reconnection
    • The sun

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Mathematics(all)
    • Engineering(all)
    • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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