Magnetohydrodynamic shock refraction at an inclined density interface

Fang Chen, Vincent Wheatley, Ravi Samtaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Shock wave refraction at a sharp density interface is a classical problem in hydrodynamics. Presently, we investigate the strongly planar refraction of a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) shock wave at an inclined density interface. A magnetic field is applied that is initially oriented either perpendicular or parallel to the motion of incident shock. We explore flow structure by varying the magnitude of the magnetic field governed by the non-dimensional parameter [Formula: see text] and the inclination angle of density interface [Formula: see text]. The regular MHD shock refraction process results in a pair of outer fast shocks (reflected and transmitted) and a set of inner nonlinear magneto-sonic waves. By varying magnetic field (strength and direction) and inclination interface angle, the latter waves can be slow shocks, slow expansion fans, intermediate shocks, or slow-mode compound waves. For a chosen incident shock strength and density ratio, the MHD shock refraction transitions from regular (all nonlinear waves meeting at a single point) into irregular when the inclined density interface angle is less than a critical value. Irregular refraction patterns are not amenable to an analytical solution, and hence, we have obtained irregular refraction solutions by numerical simulations. Since the MHD shock refraction is self-similar, we further explore by converting the initial value problem into a boundary value problem (BVP) by a self-similar coordinate transformation. The self-similar solution to the BVP is numerically solved using an iterative method and implemented using the p4est adaptive mesh framework. The simulation shows that a Mach stem occurs in an irregular MHD shock refraction, and the flow structure can be an MHD equivalent to a single Mach reflection irregular refraction and convex-forwards irregular refraction that occur in hydrodynamic case. For Mach number M = 2, both analytical and numerical results show that perpendicular magnetics fields suppress the regular to irregular transition compared to the corresponding hydrodynamic case. As Mach number decreased, it is possible that strong perpendicular magnetics promote the regular to irregular transition, while moderate perpendicular magnetics suppress this transition compared to the corresponding hydrodynamic case.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)036104
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 3 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-04-26
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1349-01-01
Acknowledgements: Supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) under Grant No. BAS/1/1349-01-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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