Development of singularities in relaxing magnetic fields
Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute
When a magnetic field relaxes to the state of magnetostatic equilibrium, discontinuities, called current-sheets are likely to form. In a perfectly conducting medium the relaxation process is subject to topological constraints. In a medium of very large, but finite conductivity current sheets play an important role as they are the places where the topological constraints are broken and the medium is heated by strong electrical currents. I discuss magnetic relaxation and current sheet formation in the simplest, one-dimensional configuration and in complex, three-dimensional chaotic fields.