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Verification for ALEGRA using magnetized shock hydrodynamics problems

Gardiner, Thomas A.; Rider, William J.; Robinson, Allen C.

Two classical verification problems from shock hydrodynamics are adapted for verification in the context of ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) by introducing strong transverse magnetic fields, and simulated using the finite element Lagrange-remap MHD code ALEGRA for purposes of rigorous code verification. The concern in these verification tests is that inconsistencies related to energy advection are inherent in Lagrange-remap formulations for MHD, such that conservation of the kinetic and magnetic components of the energy may not be maintained. Hence, total energy conservation may also not be maintained. MHD shock propagation may therefore not be treated consistently in Lagrange-remap schemes, as errors in energy conservation are known to result in unphysical shock wave speeds and post-shock states. That kinetic energy is not conserved in Lagrange-remap schemes is well known, and the correction of DeBar has been shown to eliminate the resulting errors. Here, the consequences of the failure to conserve magnetic energy are revealed using order verification in the two magnetized shock-hydrodynamics problems. Further, a magnetic analog to the DeBar correction is proposed and its accuracy evaluated using this verification testbed. Results indicate that only when the total energy is conserved, by implementing both the kinetic and magnetic components of the DeBar correction, can simulations in Lagrange-remap formulation capture MHD shock propagation accurately. Additional insight is provided by the verification results, regarding the implementation of the DeBar correction and the advection scheme.