On the stability of Alfven discontinuity

K.I. Ilin, Yuri Trakhinin

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The stability of Alfvén discontinuities for the equations of ideal compressible magneto-hydrodynamics (MHD) is studied. The Alfvén discontinuity is a characteristic discontinuity for the hyperbolic system of MHD equations but, as in the case of shock waves, there is a mass flux through its front. The Lopatinskii condition for a planar Alfvén discontinuity is tested numerically, and the domain in the space of parameters of the discontinuity where it is unstable is determined. In fact, in this domain the Alfvén discontinuity is not only unstable, but the initial-boundary-value problem for corresponding linearized equations is ill-posed in the sense of Hadamard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number110/102101
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • plasma Alfven waves,
  • plasma instability,
  • plasma magnetohydrodynamics,
  • plasma shock waves,
  • mass transfer,
  • numerical analysis,
  • initial value problems

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