Taylor state

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In plasma physics, a Taylor state is the minimum energy state of a plasma satisfying the constraint of conserving magnetic helicity.[1]


Consider a closed, simply-connected, flux-conserving, perfectly conducting surface S surrounding a plasma with negligible thermal energy (\beta \rightarrow 0).

Since \vec{B}\cdot\vec{ds}=0 on S. This implies that \vec{A}_{||}=0.

As discussed above, the plasma would relax towards a minimum energy state while conserving its magnetic helicity. Since the boundary is perfectly conducting, there cannot be any change in the associated flux. This implies \delta \vec{B}\cdot\vec{ds}=0 and \delta\vec{A}_{||}=0 on S.

We formulate a variational problem of minimizing the plasma energy W=\int d^3rB^2/2\mu_\circ while conserving magnetic helicity K=\int d^3r\vec{A}\cdot\vec{B}.

The variational problem is  \delta W -\lambda \delta K = 0.

After some algebra this leads to the following constraint for the minimum energy state  \nabla \times \vec{B} = \lambda \vec{B}.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paul M. Bellan (2000). Spheromaks: A Practical Application of Magnetohydrodynamic dynamos and plasma self-organization. pp. 71–79. ISBN 1-86094-141-9.