University of Delhi, Plasma Physics II Lecture presentations

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University of Delhi, Plasma Physics II Lecture presentations

© All Rights Reserved

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Plasma Kinetic Theory

There are three basic theories to understand the plasma

dynamics:

Fluid Theory

Kinetic Theory

Magnetohydrodynamics Theory

Fluid Theory

density and averaged velocity around each position.

A more general description is the two-fluid picture, where the

electrons and ions are described separately.

Fluid models are often accurate when collisionality is sufficient

high to keep the plasma velocity distribution close to the

Boltzmann distribution

Because fluid models usually describe the plasma in terms of a

single flow at a certain temperature at each spatial location.

Easy to understand and implementation

Application to understand the nonlinear characteristic of plasmas

such as plasma oscillations, self-focusing, harmonic generation, and

high-energy physics

Kinetic Theory

function at each point in the plasma, and therefore do not need

to assume a Boltzmann distribution

collisional-less plasmas

theory, which includes the kinetic information by following the

trajectories of a large number of individual particles.

fluid models. The Vlasov equations may be used to describe the

dynamics of a system of charged particles interacting with an

electromagnetic field.

Magnetohydrodynamics Theory

Introduction

This theory has been used to explain the spontaneous generation

and subsequent evolution of magnetic field within stellar and

planetary interiors, to accounting for the gross stability of

magnetically confined thermonuclear plasma.

Often, it has been said that the scale length of many instabilities

and waves which are able to grow or propagate in a system are

comparable with the plasma size. This shows that MHD is capable

of providing a good description of such large scale disturbance,

indicating that the MHD account of plasma behavior is necessarily

a macroscopic one.

and electromagnetism.

Compare to fluid and kinetic theory, MHD is a relatively simple but

not accurate.

MHD-Significance in fusion plasma

Lawson Parameter

Microscopic

Macroscopic

particle

theory

dynamics

Fluid or

Choice of kinetic

geometry theory

Stability of Macroscopic

equilibrium transport

Nonlinear Energy

Stability deposition

Hence, the particle density tends to be influenced by the

macroscopic properties of the plasma

may be sought using MHD are:

plasma in equilibrium

consequence

Why MHD?

Vlasov is the most accurate and MHD is the least accurate. So why

use MHD?

view, it is more efficient to use MHD in situation where the

greater detail and accuracy of the Vlasov or two-fluid theory are

unnecessary.

because it is very difficult to model such situation using the

microscopically oriented Vlasov or two-fluid approaches and

because geometrically complexities are often most important at

the MHD level of description.

The equilibrium and gross stability of three-dimension, finite

extent plasma configurations are typically analyzed using MHD.

Fluid and kinetic theories are more accurate and reliable but these

more suitable questions can be addressed after an approximation

understanding has first been achieved using MHD.

used to confine or accelerate the plasma.

astrophysical plasma, planetary and stellar dynamics and arc.

accurate for macroscopic plasma than it is for ordinary plasma.

What is MHD?

conducting fluid in the presence of magnetic fields.

species do not feature in the formulation, so the conducting

medium is a continuum or fluid through which the magnetic field

lines are exist. This field may be externally applied, produced by

current flowing in the fluid or a combination of both

MHD-Properties

neglected)

compared to the speed of light in vacuum.

plasma is collision dominated. The MHD time scale must be

sufficient long for there to be adequately many collisions between

particles. The MHD time scale will certainly be much larger than

the time required for light to traverse the plasma. This allows the

displacement current to be negligible from Maxwell’s equations.

MHD process has the conservation properties following the fluid

mechanics and electromagnetism, namely:

There are three waves which are capable of propagation in plasma

via MHD:

presence of fluid)

(c) Magnetosonic wave (a coupling of above)

MHD.

The need for a kinetic theory

fluid velocity and pressure, are function of distance and time only.

Hence, the average velocity distribution is assumed everywhere.

The collisions between the plasma particle are usually sufficient

frequent to maintain the average particle distribution.

In high-temperature plasmas, however, deviations from local

thermodynamics equilibrium can be maintained for long time.

Hence, fluid theory can be applied by considering the average

plasma parameters.

The fluid theory is valid only if collisions are frequent enough

(specially, the mean-free path is much shorter than some

characteristic distance along the magnetic field).

In the case where there are no collisions (very less collisions), the

individual particles making up the plasma will freely stream for

large distances along the field. To treat such problems, we need a

kinetic theory in which individual particles velocities are taken into

account.

Such a theory will be needed to treat problems involving flow

across a magnetic field in the case where the magnetic field is very

weak, in the sense that the gyration period and gyration radius are

not small compared with the characteristic time-scale and length-

scale of the flow.

In summary, kinetic theory is needed to treat

(a) problem involving flow along a magnetic field (or in the absence

of a magnetic field),

we need to keep track of the particle distribution in velocity space.

The particle distribution function

distribution function that describes how particles are distributed

in both physical space and velocity space.

of particles found near a point in the six dimensional space

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