This paper demonstrates an equivalence between rotating magnetized shear flows and a stressed elastic beam. This results from finding the same form of dynamical equations after an asymptotic reduction of the axis-symmetric magnetorotational instability (MRI) under the assumption of almost-critical driving. The analysis considers the MRI dynamics in a non-dissipative near-equilibrium regime. Both the magnetic and elastic systems reduce to a simple one-dimensional wave equation with a non-local nonlinear feedback. Under transformation, the equation comprises a large number of mean-field interacting Duffing oscillators. This system was the first proven example of a strange attractor in a partial differential equation. Finding the same reduced equation in two natural applications suggests the model might result from other applications and could fall into a universal class based on symmetry.
- Received September 16, 2014.
- Accepted March 12, 2015.
- © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.