In this paper, the effect of transverse magnetic field on a laminar liquid lead lithium flow in an insulating rectangular duct is numerically solved with three-dimensional (3D) simulations. Cases with and without buoyancy force are examined. The stability of the buoyant flow is studied for different values of the Hartmann number from 0 to 120. We focus on the combined influence of the Hartmann number and buoyancy on flow field, flow structure in the vicinity of walls and its stability. Velocity and temperature distributions are presented for different magnetic field strengths. It is shown that the magnetic field damps the velocity and leads to flow stabilization in the core fluid and generates magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) boundary layers at the walls, which become the main source of instabilities. The buoyant force is responsible of the generation of vortices and enhances the velocities in the core region. It can act together with the MHD forces to intensify the flow near the Hartmann layers. Two critical Hartmann numbers (Hac1 = 63, Hac2 = 120) are found. Hac1 is corresponding to the separation of two MHD regimes: the first one is characterized by a core flow maximum velocity, whereas the second regime is featured by a maximum layer velocity and a pronounced buoyancy effect. Hac2 is a threshold value of electromagnetic force indicating the onset of MHD instability through the generation of small vortices close to the side layers.

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