Mathematics of Fluids and Plasmas 2: MHD and the Sun module (MA42007)

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Module code


About the module

This module builds on the foundations established in Mathematics of Fluids and Plasmas I (MA41006). This module may optionally be taken by students on any Mathematics or Mathematics combined degree other than those taking the BSc or MSci in Mathematical Biology. If you have questions about this module or the possible combinations, please contact your Advisor of Studies.


Students taking this module must have achieved a pass mark in each of the modules MA31002 and MA32002, or equivalents, and must have taken MA41006.

Indicative Content

  • Electromagnetism

    Maxwell's equations. Electrostatics. Magnetostatic fields, magnetic effect of currents. Electrodynamics. Waves.

  • Introduction to properties of plasmas, especially on the Sun

  • Equations of Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)

    Lorentz force, MHD equations, importance of terms. Diffusion and frozen-in flux. Magnetic field lines and flux tubes.

  • MHD solutions

    Hydrostatic pressure balance, plasma beta. Potential fields. Force-free fields, coronal arcades. Grad-Shafranov equation.

  • Waves

    Linearised MHD equations. Sound waves, Alfven waves, magnetoacoustic waves.

  • Solar applications

    Magnetic reconnection. Magnetic helicity. Dynamo theory. Solar flares, CMEs.

Delivery and Assessment

The module is delivered in the form of lectures and workshops/tutorials and assessed via an exam (80%) and coursework (20%).

Credit Rating

This module is a Scottish Higher Education Level 4 or SCQF level 10 module and is rated as 15 SCOTCAT credits or 7.5 ECTS credits.