Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type



Mathematics, Engineering & Computer Science

First Advisor

Kelly Cline

Second Advisor

Cheryl Conover

Third Advisor

Philip Rose


Buoyant flux tubes of magnetic energy in the sun rise through powerful and turbulent convection to penetrate the sun’s photosphere and produce sunspots. The question studied in this research paper is: How do magnetic flux tubes rise through this violent convection to the solar surface without being destroyed? We analyze data in 128*128*300 arrays generated from supercomputer simulations of three-dimensional magnetized gas to investigate the sensitivity of flux tube survival time to different parameters: the magnetic field strength of the tubes, the viscosity of the solar fluid, and the magnetic diffusivity. We also calculate the standard deviation of magnetic energy density within the arrays to set a scale that quantitatively describes flux tube coherence. Both quantitative and qualitative measures indicate that increased magnetic field strength and increased viscosity greatly expand the time of the flux tubes’ survival, whereas increased magnetic diffusivity minutely inhibits flux tube survival time.