Volume 81, Number 6, March 2008
Article Number 64002
Number of page(s) 5
Section Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics
Published online 21 February 2008
EPL, 81 (2008) 64002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/64002

Time scales separation for dynamo action

E. Dormy1, 2 and D. Gérard-Varet3, 2

1  MAG (Ecole Normale Supérieure/Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris), Département de Physique, LRA, Ecole Normale Supérieure - 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
2  CNRS - France
3  Département de Mathématiques et Applications, Ecole Normale Supérieure - 45, rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris Cedex 05, France

received 13 September 2007; accepted in final form 21 January 2008; published March 2008
published online 21 February 2008

The study of dynamo action in astrophysical objects classically involves two time scales: the slow diffusive one and the fast advective one. We investigate the possibility of field amplification on an intermediate time scale associated with time-dependent modulations of the flow. We consider a simple steady configuration for which dynamo action is not realised. We study the effect of time-dependent perturbations of the flow. We show that some vanishing low-frequency perturbations can yield exponential growth of the magnetic field on the typical time scale of oscillation. The dynamo mechanism relies here on a parametric instability associated with transient amplification by shear flows. Consequences on natural dynamos are discussed.

47.65.-d - Magnetohydrodynamics and electrohydrodynamics.
47.65.Md - Plasma dynamos.
47.20.-k - Flow instabilities.

© EPLA 2008