Date of Award:

5-2013

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Physics

Advisor/Chair:

William F. Edward

Abstract

An algorithm for modeling two species plasmas, which evolves the number density, flow velocity, and temperature equations coupled to Maxwell's electric and magnetic field equations, is discussed. Charge separation effects and the displacement current are retained. Mathematical derivations of normal modes in cold and hot plasmas, as represented by dispersion relations resulting from a linear analysis of the two fluid equations, are presented. In addition, numerical theory in relation to the ideas of geometry, temporal and spatial discretization, linearization of the fluid equations, and an expansion using finite elements is given. Numerical results generated by this algorithm compare favorably to analytical results and other published work. Specifically, we present numerical results, which agree with electrostatics, plasma oscillations at zero pressure, finite temperature acoustic waves, electromagnetic waves, whistler waves, and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) waves, as well as a Fourier analysis showing fidelity to multiple dispersion relations in a single simulation. Final consideration is given to two species plasma stability calculations with a focus on the force balance of the initial conditions for a resistive MHD tearing mode benchmark and a static minimum energy plasma state.

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