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II.

Plasma Physics Fundamentals


4. The Particle Picture
5. The Kinetic Theory
6. The Fluid Description of Plasmas
6. The Fluid Description of Plasmas
6.1 The Fluid Equations for a Plasma

6.1 The Fluid Equations for a Plasma
6.1.1 Plasmas as Fluids: Introduction
6.1.2 The Continuity Equation
6.1.3 The Equation of State
6.1.4 The Equation of State for Adiabatic Conditions
6.1.5 The Momentum Equation - Cold Plasma
6.1.6 The Momentum Equation - Warm Plasma
6.1.7 The Momentum Equation - Collisional Plasma
6.1.8 The Set of Fluid Equations
6.1.9 Fluid Drifts: Diamagnetic Drift
6.1.10 Fluid Drifts: Curvature Drift
6.1.11 Fluid Drifts: grad B Drift
6.1.12 The Plasma Approximation
6.1.1 Plasmas as Fluids: Introduction
The particle description of a plasma was based on
trajectories for given electric and magnetic fields
Computational particle models allow in principle
to obtain a microscopic description of the plasma
with its self-consistent electric and magnetic fields
The kinetic theory yields also a microscopic, self-
consistent description of the plasma based on the
evolution of a continuum distribution function
Most practical applications of the kinetic theory
rely also on numerical implementation of the
kinetic equations
Plasmas as Fluids: Introduction (II)
The analysis of several important plasma
phenomena does not require the resolution of a
microscopic approach
The plasma behavior can be often well represented
by a macroscopic description as in a fluid model
Unlike neutral fluids, plasmas respond to electric
and magnetic fields
The fluidodynamics of plasmas is then expected to
show additional phenomena than ordinary hydro,
or gasdynamics
Plasmas as Fluids: Introduction (III)
The continuum or fluid-like character of
ordinary fluids is essentially due to the frequent
(short-range) collisions among the neutral
particles that neutralize most of the microscopic
patterns
Plasmas are, in general, less subject to short-range
collisions and properties like collective effects and
quasi-neutrality are responsible for the fluid-like
behavior
Plasmas as Fluids: Introduction (IV)
Plasmas can be considered as composed of
interpenetrating fluids (one for each particle
species)
A typical case is a two-fluid model: an electron
and an ion fluids interacting with each other and
subject to e.m. forces
A neutral fluid component can also be added, as
well as other ion fluids (for different ion species or
ionization levels)
6.1.1 The Continuity Equation


The number of particles N in a volume V changes
only if these is a net flux of particles in the volume
or if there are particle sources or sinks
(conservation of mass)
The flux per volume unit (flux density) is nu,
where u is the fluid velocity


V S
N n
dV n
t t
c c
= =
c c

u dS
dS
dS
The Continuity Equation (II)


By applying the divergence theorem
( )
S V
n n dV = V

u dS u
then
( )
V S V
n
dV n n dV
t
c
= = V
c

u dS u
and since the volume V is arbitrary
( )
0
n
n
t
c
+ V =
c
u
that is the equation of continuity. Source and sink
terms should be added to the r.h.s.
6.1.2 The Equation of State
Ideal gas: a gas where the interaction among the
different molecules is negligible
An ideal gas is described by the Boltzmann
distribution of energies for each energy state W
n
:
( ) exp
n
n
W W
f W
T

| |
=
|
\ .
The normalization condition
( ) 1 exp 1
exp exp 1 exp exp
n
n
n n
n n
n n
W W
f W
T
W W W W
T T T T

| |
= =
|
\ .
| | | | | | | |
= =
| | | |
\ . \ . \ . \ .


The Equation of State (II)
By taking the log of
The sum over the energy states W
n
can be
expressed in terms of the energies c
k
of each of the
N molecules of the gas as
exp exp
n
n
W W
T T
| | | |
=
| |
\ . \ .

it is found

exp
n
n
W
W T
T
| |
=
|
\ .

1
exp exp
!
N
n k
n k
W
T N T
c | |
| | | |
=
| |
|
\ . \ .
\ .

The Equation of State (III)
The expression
By using the approximation
becomes then
exp
n
n
W
W T
T
| |
=
|
\ .

ln exp ln !
k
k
W NT T N
T
c
| |
= +
|
\ .

ln ! ln( / ) N N N e
the ideal gas statistics can be written as
ln exp
k
k
e
W NT
N T
c
| |
=
|

\ .

The Equation of State (IV)


For a classical (non quantum) description of the
ideal gas the sum in the expression
can be reduced to an integral over the volume V of
the gas itself. The energy of a state characterized
by a temperature T can be written as
ln ( )
eV
W NT Nf T
N
= +
where f(T) is a given function of the temperature
ln exp
k
k
e
W NT
N T
c
| |
=
|

\ .

The Equation of State (V)


Since the pressure p is defined as
W
p
V
c
=
c
it is found
ln ( )
eV N e NT
P NT Nf T NT
V N eV N V
c
| |
= + = =
|
c
\ .
or (equation of state of an ideal gas)
pV NT =
For T expressed in kelvin and observing that the
density is just n=N/V
B
p nk T =
6.1.3 The Equation of State for Adiabatic Conditions
For an ideal gas in adiabatic conditions the
entropy is constant and a relationship links
volume, temperature and pressure with the
specific heats
The specific heat at constant volume c
v
is the
variation of the total energy with respect the
temperature
The specific heat at constant pressure c
p
is the
variation of the free (thermal) energy (W) with
respect the temperature
The Equation of State for Adiabatic Conditions (II)
For an ideal gas in adiabatic conditions the
following relation holds:
1
constant T p

=
By using the ideal gas equation of state p=nk
B
T it
can also be written, for adiabatic conditions:
p Cn

=
/ (2 ) /
p v df df
c c N N = = +
The ratio c
p
/ c
v
is a constant that can be expressed
in terms of the number of degrees of freedom N
df

of the system
6.1.4 The Momentum Equation - Cold Plasma


For a charged particle in an e.m. field the equation
of motion is
( )
d
m q
dt
= +
v
E v B
If there are many particles, without collisions and
superimposed thermal motions, they will all obey
to the same equation of motion and will have the
same fluid velocity u
In the fluid approximation then the variation of
momentum density will be
( )
d
nm nq
dt
= +
u
E u B
The Momentum Equation - Cold Plasma (II)


The time derivative dv/dt is taken at the position
of each particle, that is in a moving frame
In general, for any function f(x,t)
( , )
x
df x t f f x f f
u
dt t x t t x
c c c c c
= + = +
c c c c c
where the first term of the r.h.s. is the variation of f
at a fixed point and the second term is the change
of f seen by an observer moving with velocity u
x

in a region where f is different
The Momentum Equation - Cold Plasma (III)


In the most general, three dimensional, case:
( )
( , ) d t
dt t
c
= + V
c
f r f
u f
that is called convective derivative
The operator
( )
x y z
x y z
u u u
c c c
c c c
V = + + u
is a scalar differential operator
The Momentum Equation - Cold Plasma (IV)


Example.
f is a temperature of a fluid, the fluid is heated
and pumped towards a region of higher a
temperature.
df/dt>0 is the variation of temperature when the
heater is on
if the fluid is moving towards a region of higher
temperature then u>0 and
the temperature change in a fixed element of
fluid is a balance of different terms:
x
f df f
u
t dt x
c c
=
c c
0 f x c c >
The Momentum Equation - Cold Plasma (V)


By using the convective derivative the variation of
momentum density in the fluid will be
( ) ( )
d
nm nm nq
dt t
c

= + V = +

c

u u
u u E u B
that is the momentum equation or equation of
motion for a fluid
Because the assumptions of particles without
thermal motions and collsions, this equation
applies only to the cold plasma case without
collisions
6.1.5 The Momentum Equation - Warm Plasma


If the particles have thermal motions the fluid
description must include a (thermal) pressure term
The flux along x across a fluid element due to the
particle motion is the difference of the fluxes
through each face A and B of area dS
dS
x
A B
The Momentum Equation - Warm Plasma (II)


The number of particles per time unit crossing A
with velocity between v
x
and v
x
+Av
x
is

v x
n v S A A
where
( , , )
v x x y z y z
n v f v v v dv dv A = A

Each particle carries a momentum mv
x
. The total
momentum carried per time unit across A is
2 2
1
2
x v x v x x
mv n v S n mv S nm v S A A = A A = A

where the average is taken over the distribution
and n/2 is the density of particles going toward A
(the others are going away from A)
The Momentum Equation - Warm Plasma (III)


By repeating the same estimate for the face B the
net change of momentum of the fluid element can
be expressed as
( )
( )
2
x x
nmu V m n v V
t x
c c
A = A
c c
By decomposing the velocity of each particle as
the average (fluid) velocity plus the thermal
component
x x xth
v u v = +
for a 1D maxwellian distribution it will be
x x
v u =
2
1 1
2 2
x B
m v k T =
The Momentum Equation - Warm Plasma (IV)


By using the continuity equation
( )
0
x
n
nu
t x
c c
+ =
c c
and the equation of state
B
p nk T =
a final expression for the change of momentum
density in a fluid element due to the thermal
motions can be written in term of the pressure
gradient
x x
x
u u p
mn u
t x x
c c c
| |
+ =
|
c c c
\ .
The Momentum Equation - Warm Plasma (V)


The momentum equation in 3D, including e.m.
and pressure effects, will be then
( ) ( )
nm qn p
t
c

+ V = + V

c

u
u u E u B
The case studied is still not completely general as
the transfer of momentum due to the thermal
motions was considered only in the direction of
the motion itself (isotropic case)
For anisotropic cases a stress tensor H
ij
=mn<v
i
v
j
>,
instead of a scalar pressure p, should be
considered. The momentum equation is then:
( ) ( )
nm qn
t
c

+ V = + V

c

u
u u E u B
6.1.6 The Momentum Equation - Collisional Plasma


In presence of neutrals the charged fluid will
affected also by collisions that cause change in
momentum
Momentum exchange with neutrals will be
proportional to the relative velocity between the
charged fluid u and the neutral fluid u
0
.
The momentum density variation due to the
collisional interaction with neutrals can be
estimated from the mean free time between
collisions t (assumed constant). Then
( ) ( )
0
( ) mn
nm qn
t t
c

+ V = + V

c

u u u
u u E u B
The Momentum Equation - Collisional Plasma (II)


The reciprocal of the mean free time between
collisions is the collision frequency v
Collisions among charged particles will cause
additional change in momentum
There will be in general a different collision
frequency for different types of collisions (ion-
electron, electron-ion, ion-ion, electron-electron)
For example, for electron-ion and electron neutrals
the momentum equation will be
( ) ( )
en ei
nm qn
t
c

+ V = + V + +

c

u
u u E u B P P
0
( )
en en
mn v = P u u
( )
ei e i ei
mn v = P u u
6.1.7 Comparison with the Navier-Stokes Equation


Navier-Stokes equation for ordinary fluid:
( )
2
p
t
p pv
c

+ V = V + V

c

u
u u u
where p=mn and v is the kinematic viscosity that
includes the anisotropic effects (as in the tensor H)
The Navier-Stokes equation resembles the plasma
fluid momentum equation, without the e.m. term
The N-S equation represent a (neutral) fluid
dominated by collisions
The plasma fluid momentum equation was derived
under the assumption of a maxwellian distribution
function (to compute <v
2
>)
Comparison with the Navier-Stokes Equation (II)


The maxwellian distribution function is typically
the result of a collisional process that reaches an
equilibrium
The same derivation would hold for other
distributions as long as they yield the same
average square velocity
The fluid theory is therefore not very sensitive to
deviations from the maxwellian distribution
6.1.8 Fluid Equation Set


The fluid equations for a plasma, along with the
Maxwell equations, constitute a self-consistent set
of equations for the plasma in an e.m. field
Maxwell Equations
t V = c c E B ( )
0 0 i i i e e e
n q v n q v t u c V = + + c c B E
Fluid equations (continuity, momentum) for
electron and ion species (j=i,e):
( ) ( )
j
j j j j j j j j
n m q n p
t
c

+ V = + V

c

u
u u E u B
( )
0
j
j j
n
n
t
c
+ V =
c
u
Fluid Equation Set (II)


Equation of state (adiabatic closure)
j
j j j
p C n

=
The set written for the electron and ion fluids
consists of 16 scalar equations with 16 scalar
unknowns
6.1.9 Fluid Drifts: Diamagnetic Drift


Fluid momentum equation:
For slow motions w.r.t. the Larmor frequency and
E in the same direction as grad p it can be shown
that the plasma motion perpendicular to B can be
approximated by the fluid momentum equation
with the l.h.s. set to zero:
( ) ( )
nm qn p
t
c

+ V = + V

c

u
u u E u B
( )
0 qn p = + V E u B
Fluid Drifts: Diamagnetic Drift (II)


Uniform E and B are considered, while n and p
have a gradient
To study the motion perpendicular to B the cross
product of the momentum equation with B is
taken:
( )
0 qn p = + V E u B B B
that yields
2 2
p
B qnB

V
= =
E B B
u v
The first term is the usual ExB drift, as in the
particle description, the second term is called
diamagnetic drift
Fluid Drifts: Diamagnetic Drift (III)
The diamagnetic drift is originated by the pressure
gradient and therefore is an effect that cannot be
described in the single particle picture
B
grad n
v
D

Fluid Drifts: Diamagnetic Drift (IV)


The diamagnetic drift occurs even the guiding
centers are stationary
The diamagnetic drift does not depend on the mass
but changes sign with the charge: this causes a
diamagnetic current since electrons and ions drift
in opposite directions
6.1.10 Fluid Drifts: Curvature Drift


In a bend magnetic field all the particles in a fluid
element are subjected to the centrifugal force
The r.h.s. of the fluid momentum equation should
also include a centrifugal force density term as
2
B
c c
nmv
nk T
R R
=
where the r.h.s. is obtained for a maxwellian
distribution with one degree of freedom
Analogously to the diamagnetic drift caused by
grad p, the centrifugal force drift will be
2 2
B
cf
c
k T
q
R B

=
c
R B
v
6.1.11 Fluid Drifts: grad B Drift


A fluid element will not show any grad B drift,
even if the guiding centers are: the particle drifts
in any fixed fluid element cancel out.
In absence of electric forces a particle will change
its Larmor radius because the grad B but the
energy of the particle is constant (there is no work
done on the particle)
Inside the same fluid element two particles with
the same energy will see the same magnetic
field and therefore will have, locally, the same
Larmor radius
Fluid Drifts: grad B Drift (II)
In fluid element the particle drifts are canceling
out
The fluid theory is filtering out the grad B drift
shown in the particle trajectory analisis
grad |B|
B
Fluid
Element
6.1.12 The Plasma Approximation


In a plasma, for low-frequency motions and when
the electron inertia can be neglected, the electrons
will follow the ion motions ensuring, on average,
equal ion and electron densities

At the same time electric field are considered in
the plasma, for example computed from the fluid
equation on motion, then
i e
n n =
0 V = E
This is the plasma approximation: the Poisson
equation will be not used to compute electric
fields in the plasma and quasineutrality is assumed