Phase-mixing and surface waves: A new interpretation

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The classical incompressible MHD or cold plasma phase mixing problem, which involves Alfvén or plasma waves in inhornogeneous media, is re-examined using a spatial Fourier series rather than the usual temporal Fourier or Laplace transform approach. A number of exact and near-exact analytic and numerical results are derived which reveal an attractive picture of energy cascading to smaller length-scales in a manner reminiscent of turbulence. Furthermore, we present a simple and unambiguous description of how a surface wave arises in the limit in which the inhomogeneity becomes a discontinuity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-479
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Plasma Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991

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