The Karlsruhe Dynamo Experiment
Abstract. It has been shown theoretically in the past that homogeneous dynamos may occur in electrically conducting fluids for various vortical velocity fields. Roberts (1972) investigated spatially periodic, infinitely extended fields of vortices which Busse (1978, 1992) confined to a finite cylindrical domain. Based on Busse's vortex arrangement a conceptual design for an experimental homogeneous dynamo has been developed and a test facility was setup at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. The first experiments demonstrated that permanent dynamo action can be generated in a cylindrical container filled with liquid sodium in which by means of guide tubes counterrotating and countercurrent spiral vortices are established. The dynamo is self-exciting and the magnetic field saturates at a mean value for fixed super-critical flow rates. The instantaneous magnetic field fluctuates around this mean value by an order of about 5%. As predicted by theory the mode of the observed magnetic field is non-axisymmetric. In a series of experiments a phase- and a bifurcation diagram has been derived as a function of the spiral and axial flow rates.