Determination of surface plasma structures in the kinetic regime.
AuthorNeuman, William Albert.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractA numerical study is done of a plasma in contact with a cold solid surface that is emitting a neutral gas. Two numerical models have been developed to describe the dominant phenomena of surface plasma structures. The first model entails a steady-state, kinetic treatment of the transport equations in one space dimension and one velocity dimension, to determine self-consistently the distribution functions of the interacting species and the electrostatic potential near the solid surface. The dominant phenomena in this region are the ionization of the neutral gas and the acceleration of the resulting ions by the electrostatic field in a pre-sheath region. Other effects involved are a Debye sheath structure between the solid surface and pre-sheath, and collisional trapping and untrapping of electrons in an electrostatic potential well that is predicted in the pre-sheath region. Results are presented from a nondimensional model with a monatomic returning neutral species and for diatomic molecular hydrogen returning from the surface. For each set of physical parameters chosen, a one parameter family of solutions is obtained. The second numerical model involves a steady-state treatment of the transport equations in a (x,v∥,v⊥) phase space for the interacting species. Included in this model are ionization of the refluxing monatomic neutrals, a self-consistently determined electrostatic potential and a nonlinear Fokker-Planck treatment of ion-ion Coulomb collisions. Both the region near the surface dominated by kinetic effects and the region away from the surface in which Coulomb collisional effects are significant are treated. Results are presented which identify the correct physical solution for the region near the surface from the permitted family found with the kinetic model. Additionally, results are shown which span a temperature range from the high temperature kinetic regime where Coulomb collisional effects are negligible, to the low temperature, highly collisional fluid regime. At low temperatures the collisional model agrees well with standard fluid techniques.
Degree ProgramNuclear and Energy Engineering