Physics-constrained, low-dimensional models for magnetohydrodynamics: First-principles and data-driven approaches

Alan A. Kaptanoglu, Kyle D. Morgan, Chris J. Hansen, Steven L. Brunton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plasmas are highly nonlinear and multiscale, motivating a hierarchy of models to understand and describe their behavior. However, there is a scarcity of plasma models of lower fidelity than magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), although these reduced models hold promise for understanding key physical mechanisms, efficient computation, and real-time optimization and control. Galerkin models, obtained by projection of the MHD equations onto a truncated modal basis, and data-driven models, obtained by modern machine learning and system identification, can furnish this gap in the lower levels of the model hierarchy. This work develops a reduced-order modeling framework for compressible plasmas, leveraging decades of progress in projection-based and data-driven modeling of fluids. We begin by formalizing projection-based model reduction for nonlinear MHD systems. To avoid separate modal decompositions for the magnetic, velocity, and pressure fields, we introduce an energy inner product to synthesize all of the fields into a dimensionally consistent, reduced-order basis. Next, we obtain an analytic model by Galerkin projection of the Hall-MHD equations onto these modes. We illustrate how global conservation laws constrain the model parameters, revealing symmetries that can be enforced in data-driven models, directly connecting these models to the underlying physics. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach on data from high-fidelity numerical simulations of a three-dimensional spheromak experiment. This manuscript builds a bridge to the extensive Galerkin literature in fluid mechanics and facilitates future principled development of projection-based and data-driven models for plasmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015206
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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