Relativistic MHD Simulations of Collision-induced Magnetic Dissipation in Poynting-Flux-Dominated Jets/Outflows

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We perform 3D relativistic ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations to study the collisions between high-σ (Poynting-flux-dominated (PFD)) blobs which contain both poloidal and toroidal magnetic field components. This is meant to mimic the interactions inside a highly variable PFD jet. We discover a significant electromagnetic field (EMF) energy dissipation with an Alfvénic rate with the efficiency around 35%. Detailed analyses show that this dissipation is mostly facilitated by the collision-induced magnetic reconnection. Additional resolution and parameter studies show a robust result that the relative EMF energy dissipation efficiency is nearly independent of the numerical resolution or most physical parameters in the relevant parameter range. The reconnection outflows in our simulation can potentially form the multi-orientation relativistic mini jets as needed for several analytical models. We also find a linear relationship between the σ values before and after the major EMF energy dissipation process. Our results give support to the proposed astrophysical models that invoke significant magnetic energy dissipation in PFD jets, such as the internal collision-induced magnetic reconnection and turbulence model for gamma-ray bursts, and reconnection triggered mini jets model for active galactic nuclei. The simulation movies are shown in http://www.physics.unlv.edu/~deng/simulation1.html.


Astrophysics and Astronomy