Global stability of the rotating-disc boundary layer with an axial magnetic field

Christian Thomas, Christopher Davies

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A numerical study is conducted to investigate the influence of a uniform axial magnetic field on the global linear stability of the rotating-disc boundary layer. Simulation results obtained using a radially homogenized base flow were found to be in excellent agreement with an earlier linear stability analysis, which indicated that an axial magnetic field can locally suppress both convective and absolute instabilities. However, the numerical results obtained for the genuine, radially inhomogeneous, flow indicate that a global form of instability develops for sufficiently large magnetic fields. The qualitative nature of the global instability is similar to that which was observed in a previous study, where mass suction was applied at the rotating disc surface. It is shown that, just as for the case with mass suction, it is possible to explain the promotion of global instability by considering a model that includes detuning effects, which are associated with the radial variation of locally defined absolute temporal frequencies. The recurrence of the same type of instability behaviour when two distinct flow control strategies are implemented, one using suction and the other an axial magnetic field, indicates that the phenomena described by the model may be considered generic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-526
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • absolute/convective instability
  • boundary layer stability
  • flow control

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