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We have numerically studied the bifurcation properties of a sheet pinch with impenetrable stress-free boundaries. An incompressible, electrically conducting fluid with spatially and temporally uniform kinematic viscosity and magnetic diffusivity is confined between planes at x1=0 and 1. Periodic boundary conditions are assumed in the x2 and x3 directions and the magnetofluid is driven by an electric field in the x3 direction, prescribed on the boundary planes. There is a stationary basic state with the fluid at rest and a uniform current J=(0,0,J3). Surprisingly, this basic state proves to be stable and apparently to be the only time-asymptotic state, no matter how strong the applied electric field and irrespective of the other control parameters of the system, namely, the magnetic Prandtl number, the spatial periods L2 and L3 in the x2 and x3 directions, and the mean values B¯2 and B¯3 of the magnetic-field components in these directions.

Electrically conducting fluids in motion can act as self-excited dynamos. The magnetic fields of celestial bodies like the Earth and the Sun are generated by such dynamos. Their theory aims at modeling and understanding both the kinematic and dynamic aspects of the underlying processes. Kinematic dynamo models, in which for a prescribed flow the linear induction equation is solved and growth rates of the magnetic field are calculated, have been studied for many decades. But in order to get consistent models and to take into account the back-reaction of the magnetic field on the fluid motion, the full nonlinear system of the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations has to be studied. It is generally accepted that these equations, i.e. the Navier-Stokes equation (NSE) and the induction equation, provide a theoretical basis for the explanation of the dynamo effect. The general idea is that mechanical energy pumped into the fluid by heating or other mechanisms is transferred to the magnetic field by nonlinear interactions. For two special helical flows which are known to be effective kinematic dynamos and which can be produced by appropriate external mechanical forcing, we review the nonlinear dynamo properties found in the framework of the full MHD equations. Specifically, we deal with the ABC flow (named after Arnold, Beltrami and Childress) and the Roberts flow (after G.~O. Roberts). The appearance of generic dynamo effects is demonstrated. Applying special numerical bifurcation-analysis techniques to high-dimensional approximations in Fourier space and varying the Reynolds number (or the strength of the forcing) as the relevant control parameter, qualitative changes in the dynamics are investigated. We follow the bifurcation sequences until chaotic states are reached. The transitions from the primary flows with vanishing magnetic field to dynamo-active states are described in particular detail. In these processes the stagnation points of the flows and their heteroclinic connections play a promoting role for the magnetic field generation. By the example of the Roberts flow we demonstrate how the break up of the heteroclinic lines after the primary bifurcation leads to a complicated intersection of stable and unstable manifolds forming a chaotic web which is in turn correlated with the spatial appearance of the dynamo.

We report on bifurcation studies for the incompressible magnetohydrodynamic equations in three space dimensions with periodic boundary conditions and a temporally constant external forcing. Fourier reprsentations of velocity, pressure and magnetic field have been used to transform the original partial differential equations into systems of ordinary differential equations (ODE), to which then special numerical methods for the qualitative analysis of systems of ODE have been applied, supplemented by the simulative calculation of solutions for selected initial conditions. In a part of the calculations, in order to reduce the number of modes to be retained, the concept of approximate inertial manifolds has been applied. For varying (incereasing from zero) strength of the imposed forcing, or varying Reynolds number, respectively, time-asymptotic states, notably stable stationary solutions, have been traced. A primary non-magnetic steady state loses, in a Hopf bifurcation, stability to a periodic state with a non-vanishing magnetic field, showing the appearance of a generic dynamo effect. From now on the magnetic field is present for all values of the forcing. The Hopf bifurcation is followed by furhter, symmetry-breaking, bifurcations, leading finally to chaos. We pay particular attention to kinetic and magnetic helicities. The dynamo effect is observed only if the forcing is chosen such that a mean kinetic helicity is generated; otherwise the magnetic field diffuses away, and the time-asymptotic states are non-magnetic, in accordance with traditional kinematic dynamo theory.

We report on bifurcation studies for the incompressible magnetohydrodynamic equations in three space dimensions with periodic boundary conditions and a temporally constant external forcing. Fourier representations of velocity, pressure and magnetic field have been used to transform the original partial differential equations into systems of ordinary differential equations (ODE), to which then special numerical methods for the qualitative analysis of systems of ODE have been applied, supplemented by the simulative calculation of solutions for selected initial conditions. In a part of the calculations, in order to reduce the number of modes to be retained, the concept of approximate inertial manifolds has been applied. For varying (increasing from zero) strength of the imposed forcing, or varying Reynolds number, respectively, time-asymptotic states, notably stable stationary solutions, have been traced. A primary non- magnetic steady state loses, in a Hopf bifurcation, stability to a periodic state with a non-vanishing magnetic field, showing the appearance of a generic dynamo effect. From now on the magnetic field is present for all values of the forcing. The Hopf bifurcation is followed by further, symmetry-breaking, bifurcations, leading finally to chaos. We pay particular attention to kinetic and magnetic helicities. The dynamo effect is observed only if the forcing is chosen such that a mean kinetic helicity is generated; otherwise the magnetic field diffuses away, and the time-asymptotic states are non-magnetic, in accordance with traditional kinematic dynamo theory.

We have studied the bifurcation structure of the incompressible two-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations with a special external forcing driving an array of 8×8 counterrotating vortices. The study has been motivated by recent experiments with thin layers of electrolytes showing, among other things, the formation of large-scale spatial patterns. As the strength of the forcing or the Reynolds number is raised the original stationary vortex array becomes unstable and a complex sequence of bifurcations is observed. The bifurcations lead to several periodic branches, torus and chaotic solutions, and other stationary solutions. Most remarkable is the appearance of solutions characterized by structures on spatial scales large compared to the scale of the forcing. We also characterize the different dynamic regimes by means of tracers injected into the fluid. Stretching rates and Hausdorff dimensions of convected line elements are calculated to quantify the mixing process. It turns out that for time-periodic velocity fields the mixing can be very effective.

We report on bifurcation studies for the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations in two space dimensions with periodic boundary conditions and an external forcing of the Kolmogorov type. Fourier representations of velocity and pressure have been used to approximate the original partial differential equations by a finite-dimensional system of ordinary differential equations, which then has been studied by means of bifurcation-analysis techniques. A special route into chaos observed for increasing Reynolds number or strength of the imposed forcing is described. It includes several steady states, traveling waves, modulated traveling waves, periodic and torus solutions, as well as a period-doubling cascade for a torus solution. Lyapunov exponents and Kaplan-Yorke dimensions have been calculated to characterize the chaotic branch. While studying the dynamics of the system in Fourier space, we also have transformed solutions to real space and examined the relation between the different bifurcations in Fourier space and toplogical changes of the streamline portrait. In particular, the time-dependent solutions, such as, e.g., traveling waves, torus, and chaotic solutions, have been characterized by the associated fluid-particle motion (Lagrangian dynamics).