Turbulent diffusion of large-scale magnetic fields in the presence of ambipolar drift

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The decay of a large-scale magnetic field embedded in a weakly ionized fluid is studied in two-dimensional geometry. We consider cases where the magnetic energy density is less than the total kinetic energy density. Using both quasi-linear analysis and numerical simulations, we show that when the motions of the neutrals are turbulent, the effective diffusivity of a large-scale magnetic field depends on both the magnetic field strength and the frictional coupling constant between ions and neutrals. The effective diffusivity is comparable to the turbulent rate if the magnetic field is weak enough and if the frictional coupling is strong enough. However, for values of the parameters typical of the interstellar medium, we show that turbulent diffusion is bound to be reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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  • Diffusion
  • ISM: magnetic field
  • MHD
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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