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Magnetohydrodynamic Phenomena - an Introduction

Module PH2037

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2016/7

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2022/3WS 2021/2WS 2019/20WS 2017/8WS 2016/7WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2037 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h  h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2037 in the version of WS 2016/7 was the Dean of Studies at Physics Department.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The most important phenomena in ideal fluid dynamics,
magnetohydrodynamics and plasma physics will be explained in an
visually accessible way using illustrative examples and some
experiments. Examples are the magnetic fields in the solar system,
dynamo effect in the sun, plasma confinement in controlled nuclear
fusion experiments. Apart from plasma and astro physics, the basics of
fluid mechanics and electrodynamics are discussed and revisited:

  • solar wind
  • heliosphere
  • dynamo effect
  • magnetic forces
  • magnetic levitation
  • plasma equilibria
  • single particle picture / collective picture
  • instabilities
  • turbulence
  • turbulent convection
  • conservation laws
  • turbulent cascades

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module, the students are able to understand and to explain
1. the magneto hydrodynamic (MHD) equations, the main consequences, and its scope of application
2. the single particle movements the MHD equations are based on
3. the conditions for stable magnetic equilibria plasmas 
4. the MHD instability mechanisms
5. conservation laws in different scenarios and the turbulence Richardson cascade


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecture, Transparencies, Blackboard presentation, Discussion, Exercises


no info


- F. F. Chen: "Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion", Plenum Press, NY 1984
- R. J. Goldstone, P. H. Rutherford: "Introduction to Plasma Physics", IOP Publishing Ltd 1995
- Wesson: "Tokamaks"
- U. Frisch: "Turbulence''
- Hazeltine, Waelbroeck: "The Framework of Plasma Physics"
- Biskamp: "Nonlinear Magnetohydrodynamics''
- Landau Lifshitz X: "Physical Kinetics''

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In a written exam of 60 minutes the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as an oral exam. In this case the time duration is 25 minutes.

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