Conservation laws and evolution schemes in geodesic, hydrodynamic, and magnetohydrodynamic flows

Charalampos Markakis, Koji Uryu, Eric Gourgoulhon, Jean Philippe Nicolas, Nils Andersson, Athina Pouri, Vojtěch Witzany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carter and Lichnerowicz have established that barotropic fluid flows are conformally geodesic and obey Hamilton's principle. This variational approach can accommodate neutral, or charged and poorly conducting, fluids. We show that, unlike what has been previously thought, this approach can also accommodate perfectly conducting magnetofluids, via the Bekenstein-Oron description of ideal magnetohydrodynamics. When Noether symmetries associated with Killing vectors or tensors are present in geodesic flows, they lead to constants of motion polynomial in the momenta. We generalize these concepts to hydrodynamic flows. Moreover, the Hamiltonian descriptions of ideal magnetohydrodynamics allow one to cast the evolution equations into a hyperbolic form useful for evolving rotating or binary compact objects with magnetic fields in numerical general relativity. In this framework, Ertel's potential vorticity theorem for baroclinic fluids arises as a special case of a conservation law valid for any Hamiltonian system. Moreover, conserved circulation laws, such as those of Kelvin, Alfvén and Bekenstein-Oron, emerge simply as special cases of the Poincaré-Cartan integral invariant of Hamiltonian systems. We use this approach to obtain an extension of Kelvin's theorem to baroclinic (nonisentropic) fluids, based on a temperature-dependent time parameter. We further extend this result to perfectly or poorly conducting baroclinic magnetoflows. Finally, in the barotropic case, such magnetoflows are shown to also be geodesic, albeit in a Finsler (rather than Riemann) space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064019
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 13 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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