MTH5343 - Magnetohydrodynamics and visualisation of scientific data - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Mathematical Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Paul Cally


Professor Paul Cally
Dr Alina Donea

Not offered in 2019


Enrolment in the Master of Mathematics


MTH4343Not offered in 2019


This unit is offered in alternate years commencing S1, 2020


This unit briefly discusses plasma physics, covering single particle motion and kinetic plasma theory, and then introduces the fluid description to derive the equations of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). It then explores basic MHD, including ideal and dissipative MHD, magnetohydrostatic, and MHD waves. A detailed spectral theory of MHD waves is developed. Students are required to understand the dynamics of general plasma flows, wave modes in plasmas, instabilities, particle acceleration, and shocks.

Applications will be made to solar structures and observations.

Stability and dynamics of solar features from the photosphere to corona will be analysed/simulated. These studies will be accompanied by the state-of-art visualisation techniques such as Python VTK, Mayavi and Paraview. Algorithms and ODE/PDE solvers to allow for Interactive Visualisation will be an essential part of our tasks.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Develop advanced knowledge of the terms in the governing equations of kinetic and fluid theories.
  2. Identify the MHD equations and derive the associated mass and momentum conservation equations
  3. Identify the terms in the MHD version of Ohm's Law and use the equation to explain convection electric fields and frozen-in magnetic fields
  4. Demonstrate expert knowledge on magnetic pressure and tension forces
  5. Derive the dispersion equation for the basic MHD wave modes and describe their properties, such as propagation of magnetohydrodynamic waves
  6. Show using simple examples how this system of equations can be applied to different astrophysical and laboratory phenomena.
  7. Reach a high level of achievement in writing and presenting sophisticated visualisation methods of computational visualisation
  8. Communicate complex information on waves and MHD theory with the use of visualisation methods
  9. Develop MHD computer model data visualisation and analysis


Examination (3 hours): 60% (Hurdle)

Continuous assessment: 40%

Hurdle requirement: To pass this unit a student must achieve at least 50% overall and at least 40% for the end-of-semester exam.

This unit is offered at both Level 4 and Level 5, differentiated by the level of the assessment. Students enrolled in MTH5343 will be expected to demonstrate a higher level of learning in this subject than those enrolled in MTH4343Not offered in 2019. The assignments and exam in this unit will use some common items from the MTH4343Not offered in 2019 assessment tasks, in combination with several higher level questions and tasks.

Workload requirements

3 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial per week

10 hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Master of Mathematics