The magnetorotational instability (MRI) plays a key role for cosmic structure formation by triggering turbulence in the rotating flows of accretion disks that would be otherwise hydrodynamically stable. In the limit of smallmagnetic Prandtl number, the helical and the azimuthal versions of MRI are known to be governed by a quite different scaling behavior than the standard MRI with a vertical applied magnetic field. Using the short-wavelength approximation for an incompressible, resistive, and viscous rotating fluid, we present a unified description of helical and azimuthal MRI, and we identify the universal character of the Liu limit 2(1-√2) ≈-0.8284 for the critical Rossby number. From this universal behavior we are also led to the prediction that the instability will be governed by a mode with an azimuthal wavenumber that is proportional to the ratio of axial to azimuthal applied magnetic field, when this ratio becomes large and the Rossby number is close to the Liu limit.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science