Abstract:
A mechanical analogy is used to analyze the interaction between the magnetic field, electric current and deformation of interfaces in liquid metal batteries. It is found that, during charging or discharging, a sufficiently large battery is prone to instabilities of two types. One is similar to the metal pad instability known for aluminum reduction cells. Another type is new. It is related to the destabilizing effect of the Lorentz force formed by the azimuthal magnetic field induced by the base current and the current perturbations caused by the local variations of the thickness of the electrolyte layer.

Abstract:
We consider rotating flows in non-axisymmetric enclosures that are driven by libration, i.e. by a small periodic modulation of the rotation rate. Thanks to its simplicity, this model is relevant to various contexts, from industrial containers (with small oscillations of the rotation rate) to fluid layers of terrestial planets (with length-of-day variations). Assuming a multipolar $n$-fold boundary deformation, we first obtain the two-dimensional basic flow. We then perform a short-wavelength local stability analysis of the basic flow, showing that an instability may occur in three dimensions. We christen it the Libration Driven Multipolar Instability (LDMI). The growth rates of the LDMI are computed by a Floquet analysis in a systematic way, and compared to analytical expressions obtained by perturbation methods. We then focus on the simplest geometry allowing the LDMI, a librating deformed cylinder. To take into account viscous and confinement effects, we perform a global stability analysis, which shows that the LDMI results from a parametric resonance of inertial modes. Performing numerical simulations of this librating cylinder, we confirm that the basic flow is indeed established and report the first numerical evidence of the LDMI. Numerical results, in excellent agreement with the stability results, are used to explore the non-linear regime of the instability (amplitude and viscous dissipation of the driven flow). We finally provide an example of LDMI in a deformed spherical container to show that the instability mechanism is generic. Our results show that the previously studied libration driven elliptical instability simply corresponds to the particular case $n=2$ of a wider class of instabilities. Summarizing, this work shows that any oscillating non-axisymmetric container in rotation may excite intermittent, space-filling LDMI flows, and this instability should thus be easy to observe experimentally.

Abstract:
Due to anisotropic momentum distributions the parton system produced at the early stage of relativistic heavy-ion collisions is unstable with respect to the magnetic plasma modes. The instabilities isotropize the system and thus speed up the process of its equilibration. The whole scenario of the instabilities driven isotropization is reviewed.

Abstract:
Energetic nonthermal particles (cosmic rays, CRs) are accelerated in supernova remnants, relativistic jets and other astrophysical objects. The CR energy density is typically comparable with that of the thermal components and magnetic fields. In this review we discuss mechanisms of magnetic field amplification due to instabilities induced by CRs. We derive CR kinetic and magnetohydrodynamic equations that govern cosmic plasma systems comprising the thermal background plasma, comic rays and fluctuating magnetic fields to study CR-driven instabilities. Both resonant and non-resonant instabilities are reviewed, including the Bell short-wavelength instability, and the firehose instability. Special attention is paid to the longwavelength instabilities driven by the CR current and pressure gradient. The helicity production by the CR current-driven instabilities is discussed in connection with the dynamo mechanisms of cosmic magnetic field amplification.

Abstract:
We investigate electrostatic plasma instabilities of Farley-Buneman (FB) type driven by quasi-stationary neutral gas flows in the solar chromosphere. The role of these instabilities in the chromosphere is clarified. We find that the destabilizing ion thermal effect is highly reduced by the Coulomb collisions and can be ignored for the chromospheric FB-type instabilities. On the contrary, the destabilizing electron thermal effect is important and causes a significant reduction of the neutral drag velocity triggering the instability. The resulting threshold velocity is found as function of chromospheric height. Our results indicate that the FB type instabilities are still less efficient in the global chromospheric heating than the Joule dissipation of the currents driving these instabilities. This conclusion does not exclude the possibility that the FB type instabilities develop in the places where the cross-field currents overcome the threshold value and contribute to the heating locally. Typical length-scales of plasma density fluctuations produced by these instabilities are determined by the wavelengths of unstable modes, which are in the range $10-10^2$ cm in the lower chromosphere, and $10^2-10^3$ cm in the upper chromosphere. These results suggest that the decimetric radio waves undergoing scattering (scintillations) by these plasma irregularities can serve as a tool for remote probing of the solar chromosphere at different heights.

Abstract:
The main subject of this thesis rests on the study ---at different levels of description--- of instabilities in systems which are driven, i.e., maintained far from equilibrium by an external forcing. We focus here on two main classes, namely, driven--diffusive fluids and driven granular gases. A particular driven-diffusive lattice model, prototype for nonequilibrium phase transitions, is investigated. A well-known disadvantage of lattice models is that, when they are compared directly with experiment, often do not account for important features of the corresponding nonequilibrium phase diagram, such as structural, morphological, and even critical properties. Furthermore, theoreticians often tend to consider them as prototypical models for certain behavior, a fact which is in many cases not justified. This is discussed in the first part of this thesis, where we introduce a novel, realistic model for computer simulation of anisotropic fluids. The second class of systems we consider in this thesis concerns driven granular gases. We study clustering, symmetry breaking, and phase separation instabilities in two-dimensional driven granular gases, using both molecular dynamics simulations and granular hydrodynamics. Hydrostatic predictions are tested by comparing with molecular dynamics simulations. We are able to develop an effective Langevin description for close-packed macroparticle, confined by a harmonic potential and driven by a delta-correlated noise.

Abstract:
A new criterion for pressure-driven interchange instabilities in cylindrical geometry is derived, based on an alternate use of the Energy Principle. This criterion is inequivalent to Suydam's criterion and does not contain the magnetic shear. In fact, it is shown that Suydam's criterion relates to the instability of the slow magnetosonic branch, while the present criterion relates to the Alfv\'enic one, which is the most dangerous of the two. These findings explain why pressure-driven modes nearly always exist even if Suydam's criterion is satisfied by a large margin.

Abstract:
Runaway particles can be produced in plasmas with large electric fields. Here we address the possibility that such runaway ions and electrons excite Alfv\'enic instabilities. The magnetic perturbation induced by these modes can enhance the loss of runaways. This may have important implications for the runaway electron beam formation in tokamak disruptions.

Abstract:
We show that the concept of umklapp-scattering driven instabilities in one-dimensional systems can be generalized to arbitrary multiple umklapp-scattering processes at commensurate fillings given that the system has sufficiently longer range interactions. To this end we study the fundamental model system, namely interacting spinless fermions on a one-dimensional lattice, via a density matrix renormalization group approach. The instabilities are investigated via a new method allowing to calculate the ground-state charge stiffness numerically exactly. The method can be used to determine other ground state susceptibilities in general.

Abstract:
The purpose of the study is to further investigate the classical Gibbs analysis of the heterogeneous system "stressed crystal - melt." It is demonstrated that each equilibrium configuration is stable with respect to a special class of variations introduced by Gibbs. This basic result is compared with the opposite result on the universal morphological instability of phase interface separating a stressed crystal with its melt. Some plausible manifestations of the instabilities implied by the Gibbs model are qualitatively discussed.