Magnetorotational Instability in a Rotating Liquid Metal Annulus
(Accepted 10 May 2001; Received 22 March 2001)
Although the magnetorotational instability (MRI) has been widely accepted as a powerful accretion mechanism in magnetized accretion disks, it has not been realized in the laboratory. The possibility of studying MRI in a rotating liquid-metal annulus (Couette flow) is explored by local and global stability analysis. Stability diagrams are drawn in dimensionless parameters, and also in terms of the angular velocities at the inner and outer cylinders. It is shown that MRI can be triggered in a moderately rapidly rotating table-top apparatus, using easy-to-handle metals such as gallium. Practical issues of this proposed experiment are discussed.
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