The Stability of Viscous Flow between Rotating Cylinders in the Presence of a Magnetic Field

S. Chandrasekhar


In this paper the theory of the stability of viscous flow between two rotating coaxial cylinders which has been developed by Taylor, Jeffreys and Meksyn is extended to the case when the fluid considered is an electrical conductor and a magnetic field along the axis of the cylinders is present. A differential equation of order eight is derived which governs the situation in marginal stability; and a significant set of boundary conditions for the problem is formulated. The case when the two cylinders are rotating in the same direction and the difference (d) in their radii is small compared to their mean (R$_{0}$) is investigated in detail. A variational procedure for solving the underlying characteristic value problem and determining the critical Taylor numbers for the onset of instability is described. As in the case of thermal instability of a horizontal layer of fluid heated below, the effect of the magnetic field is to inhibit the onset of instability, the inhibiting effect being the greater, the greater the strength of the field and the value of the electrical conductivity. In both cases, the inhibiting effect of the magnetic field depends on the strength of the field (H), the density ($\rho $) and the coefficients of electrical conductivity ($\sigma $), kinematic viscosity ($\nu $) and magnetic permeability ($\mu $) through the same non-dimensional combination Q = $\mu ^{2}$H$^{2}$d$^{2}$$\sigma $/$\rho \nu $; however, the effect on rotational stability is more pronounced than on thermal instability. A table of the critical Taylor numbers for various values of Q is provided.