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We investigate the growth and nonlinear saturation of a powerful local shear instability in weakly magnetised accretion disks using three dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations. To achieve a sufficiently high numerical resolution, we use a local approximation for the disk and carry out the simulations on massively parallel supercomputers. Here we investigate the linear growth and nonlinear saturation of the instability in a vertically stratified, intially isothermal disk. A variety of initial field configurations and strengths are considered. The simulations allow a quantitative analysis of the role of bouyancy as a saturation mechanism, and possible dynamo action in the disk.
This work is partially supported by NSF grant PHY-9018251 and NASA grants NAGW-1510 and NAGW-2376. Code development is supported by the NASA HPCC Initiative through grant NAG5-2202. Computations were carried out on the CM200 system of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
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