Compressible Test-field Method and Its Application to Shear Dynamos

Maarit J. Käpylä*, Matthias Rheinhardt, Axel Brandenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, we present a compressible test-field method (CTFM) for computing α-effect and turbulent magnetic diffusivity tensors, as well as those relevant for the mean ponderomotive force and mass source, applied to the full MHD equations. We describe the theoretical background of the method and compare it to the quasi-kinematic test-field method and to the previously studied variant working in simplified MHD (SMHD). We present several test cases using velocity and magnetic fields of the Roberts geometry and also compare with the imposed-field method. We show that, for moderate imposed-field strengths, the nonlinear CTFM (nCTFM) gives results in agreement with the imposed-field method. A comparison of different flavors of the nCTFM in the shear dynamo case also yields agreement up to equipartition field strengths. Some deviations between the CTFM and SMHD variants exist. As a relevant physical application, we study nonhelically forced shear flows, which exhibit large-scale dynamo action, and present a reanalysis of low-Reynolds-number, moderate shear systems, where we previously ignored the pressure gradient in the momentum equation and found no coherent shear-current effect. Another key difference is that in the earlier study we used magnetic forcing to mimic small-scale dynamo action, while here it is self-consistently driven by purely kinetic forcing. The kinematic CTFM with general validity forms the core of our analysis. We still find no coherent shear-current effect, but do recover strong large-scale dynamo action that, according to our analysis, is driven by incoherent effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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