Macroscopic and parametric study of a kinetic plasma expansion in a paraxial magnetic nozzle Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2020

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 17


  • 4, 045017


  • 29

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-0252

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1361-6595


  • A kinetic paraxial model of a collisionless plasma stationary expansion in a convergent-divergent magnetic nozzle (MN) is analyzed. Monoenergetic and Maxwellian velocity distribution functions of upstream ions are compared, leading to differences in the expansion only on second and higher-order velocity moments. Individual and collective magnetic mirror effects are analyzed. Collective ones are small on the electron population since only a weak temperature anisotropy develops, but they are significant on the ions all over the nozzle. Momentum and energy equations for ions and electrons are assessed based on the kinetic solution. The ion response is different in the hot and cold limits, with the anisotropic pressure tensor being relevant in the first case. Heat fluxes of parallel and perpendicular energies have a dominant role in the electron energy equations. They do not fulfill a Fourier-type law; they are large even when electrons are near isothermal. A crude electron fluid closure based on a constant diffusion-to-convective thermal energy ratio is shown equivalent to the much invoked polytropic law. Analytical dimensionless parameter laws are derived for the nozzle total electric potential fall and the downstream residual electron temperature. Electron confinement and related current control by a thin Debye sheath and a semi-infinite divergent MN are compared.


  • Physics


  • plasma; modeling; magnetic nozzle; electron cooling; kinetic