Date of Award

12-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Physics

Advisor

Neil Comins

Second Committee Member

David Batuski

Third Committee Member

Peter Koons

Abstract

Magnetic fields are pervasive and complex features of many stars, yet neither their dynamics nor their origins are well understood. We propose that a possible origin of some stellar magnetic fields is the thermal gradient in a star’s convection zone preferentially driving the free electrons at a greater average speed than the other ion species present. This relative electron-ion flow would have a corresponding electric field, which could then induce a magnetic field. This mechanism for creating stellar magnetic fields is tested in the context of simulations modeling the solar convective envelope where the relative electron-ion flow is treated as a ‘difference flow’ of ‘difference particles’. Model S solar parameters are used as constraints for simulations executed using the 3D ideal-MHD ZEUS-MP code which has been modified to include magnetic fields induced via the Biot-Savart Law. Effects due to varying the surface thermal boundary conditions, artificial viscosity values, charge density, and mesh dimensions are explored.

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