Topics in Lagrangian and Hamiltonian fluid dynamics : relabeling symmetry and ion-acoustic wave stability
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Relabeling symmetries of the Lagrangian action are found for the ideal, compressible fluid and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). These give rise to conservation laws of potential vorticity (Ertel's theorem) and helicity in the ideal fluid, cross helicity in MHD, and a conservation law for an ideal fluid with three thermodynamic variables. The symmetry that gives rise to Ertel's theorem is generated by an infinite parameter group, and leads to a generalized Bianchi identity. The existence of a more general symmetry is also shown, with dependence on time and space derivatives of the fields, and corresponds to a family of conservation laws associated with the potential vorticity. In the Hamiltonian formalism, Casimir invariants of the noncanonical formulation are directly constructed from the symmetries of the reduction map from Lagrangian to Eulerian variables. Casimir invariants of MHD include a gauge-dependent family of invariants that incorporates magnetic helicity as a special case. Novel examples of finite dimensional, noncanonical Hamiltonian dynamics are also presented: the equations for a magnetic field line flow with a symmetry direction, and Frenet formulas that describe a curve in 3-space. In the study of Lyapunov stability of ion-acoustic waves, existence of negative energy perturbations is found at short wavelengths. The effect of adiabatic, ionic pressure on ion-acoustic waves is investigated, leading to explicit solitary and nonlinear periodic wave solutions for the adiabatic exponent r = 3. In particular, solitary waves are found to exist at any wave speed above Mach number one, without an upper cutoff speed. Negative energy perturbations are found to exist despite the addition of pressure, which prevents the establishment of Lyapunov stability; however the stability of ion-acoustic waves is established in the KdV limit, in a manner far simpler than the proof of KdV soliton stability. It is also shown that the KdV free energy (Benjamin, 1972) is recovered upon evaluating (the negative of) the ion-acoustic free energy at the critical point, in the KdV approximation. Numerical study of an ion-acoustic solitary wave with a negative energy perturbation shows transients with increased perturbation amplitude. The localized perturbation moves to the left in the wave-frame, leaving the solitary wave peak intact, thus indicating that the wave may be stable.