Induction heating is able to completely transform the energy budget of exoplanets and even melt the interior. In a new study, scientists are trying to explain how magmatic oceans can form under the surface of exoplanets due to the process of induction heating.
When the conductive material is in a varying magnetic field, an electric current is created inside the body under the influence of electromagnetic induction. If the electric current is strong, it can heat the material in which it flows, due to the resulting electrical resistance. In industry, induction heating is used to melt materials, and at home - to heat food.
Rapid rotation causes heat
These examples inspired the team from the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. They wanted to know if the process could be used on a much larger scale. Of particular interest were the planets circling around stars with powerful magnetic fields. Such stars are able to accelerate, which causes a change in the magnetic field in a planetary orbit. Then induction heating occurs inside the planet itself.
Development of the igneous ocean through induction heating in the mantle of the Trappist-1c exoplanet
Impact on the emergence of life
Scientists considered low-mass stars exhibiting certain exotic features that differ from the sun. They are much smaller and dimmer. Some accelerate, and the magnetic field indicators exceed the solar one hundred times. An excellent example is the Trappist-1 system, which has seven planets, three of which are capable of having liquid water on the surface layer.
The researchers calculated the energy release inside the planets Trappist-1 due to induction heating. It turned out that for some it is strong enough to cause powerful volcanic activity and create magma oceans below the surface.
From the history of the Earth, we know that volcanic activity affects the atmosphere. Therefore, induction heating can affect the possible habitability. So this factor should now be considered when searching for life.