In fusion plasmas there is extreme anisotropy due to the high temperature and large magnetic field strength. This causes diffusive processes, heat diffusion and energy/momentum loss due to viscous friction, to effectively be aligned with the magnetic field lines. This alignment leads to different values for the respective diffusive coefficients in the magnetic field direction and in the perpendicular direction, to the extent that heat diffusion coefficients can be up to $10^{12}$ times larger in the parallel direction than in the perpendicular direction. This anisotropy puts stringent requirements on the numerical methods used to approximate the MHD-equations since any misalignment of the grid may cause the perpendicular diffusion to be polluted by the numerical error in approximating the parallel diffusion. % Currently the common approach is to apply magnetic field aligned grids, an approach that automatically takes care of the directionality of the diffusive coefficients. This approach runs into problems in the case of crossing field lines, e.g., x-points and points where there is magnetic reconnection. This makes local non-alignment unavoidable. It is therefore useful to consider numerical schemes that are more tolerant to the misalignment of the grid with the magnetic field lines, both to improve existing methods and to help open the possibility of applying regular non-aligned grids. To investigate this several discretization schemes are applied to the anisotropic heat diffusion equation on a cartesian grid.

International Conference on Computational Fluid Dynamics
Scientific Computing

van Es, B., Koren, B., & de Blank, H. J. (2013). Discretization methods for extremely anisotropic diffusion. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Computational Fluid Dynamics 2012 (ICCFD 7).