Experimental Confirmation of the Magnetorotational Instability Mechanism [IMA]


The Magnetorotational Instability (MRI) has long been considered a plausibly ubiquitous mechanism to destabilize Keplerian flows, transport angular momentum, and facilitate fast accretion in astrophysical objects. But heretofore, experimental validation has been lacking. We report an unambiguous laboratory demonstration of the spring-mass analogue to the MRI by comparing motion of a spring-tethered ball within different rotating flows. As predicted, efficient outward angular momentum transport manifests only for cases with a weak spring and quasi-Keperian flow.

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D. Hung, E. Blackman, K. Caspary, et. al.
Fri, 12 Jan 18

Comments: 6 pages; 4 figures; submitted to Physical Review Letters