In this paper, we present a new experimental facility, Little Earth Experiment, designed to study the hydrodynamics of liquid planetary cores. The main novelty of this apparatus is that a transparent electrically conducting electrolyte is subject to extremely high magnetic fields (up to 10 T) to produce electromagnetic effects comparable to those produced by moderate magnetic fields in planetary cores. This technique makes it possible to visualise for the first time the coupling between the principal forces in a convection-driven dynamo by means of Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) in a geometry relevant to planets. We first present the technology that enables us to generate these forces and implement PIV in a high magnetic field environment. We then show that the magnetic field drastically changes the structure of convective plumes in a configuration relevant to the tangent cylinder region of the Earth’s core.
Aujogue, K., Pothérat, A., Bates, I., Debray, F., & Sreenivasan, B. (2016). Little Earth Experiment: An instrument to model planetary cores. Review of Scientific Instruments, 87(8), . https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4960124