Accurate, meshless methods for magnetohydrodynamics


Recently, we explored new meshless finite-volume Lagrangian methods for hydrodynamics: the “meshless finite mass” (MFM) and “meshless finite volume” (MFV) methods; these capture advantages of both smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) and adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) schemes. We extend these to include ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). The MHD equations are second-order consistent and conservative. We augment these with a divergence-cleaning scheme, which maintains $\nabla\cdot B\approx 0$. We implement these in the code GIZMO, together with state-of-the-art SPH MHD. We consider a large test suite, and show that on all problems the new methods are competitive with AMR using constrained transport (CT) to ensure $\nabla\cdot B = 0$. They correctly capture the growth/structure of the magnetorotational instability, MHD turbulence, and launching of magnetic jets, in some cases converging more rapidly than state-of-the-art AMR. Compared to SPH, the MFM/MFV methods exhibit convergence at fixed neighbour number, sharp shock-capturing, and dramatically reduced noise divergence errors, and diffusion. Still, “modern” SPH can handle most test problems, at the cost of larger kernels and “by hand” adjustment of artificial diffusion. Compared to non-moving meshes, the new methods exhibit enhanced “grid noise” but reduced advection errors and diffusion, easily include self-gravity, and feature velocity-independent errors and superior angular momentum conservation. They converge more slowly on some problems (smooth, slow-moving flows), but more rapidly on others involving advection/rotation). In all cases, we show divergence control beyond the Powell 8-wave approach is necessary, or all methods can converge to unphysical answers even at high resolution.

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society