Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-mrcq8 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-27T05:12:27.650Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - Introduction to kinetic theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2009

Thomas E. Cravens
Affiliation:
University of Kansas
Get access

Summary

A gas consisting of charged particles is called a plasma, although the use of the term is often restricted to charged particle gases in which collective phenomena, such as plasma oscillations, are more important than collisional phenomena. Collisions generally involve the short-range interactions of discrete particles, whereas collective phenomena involve large numbers of particles working in unison. The charged particle species in most plasmas are positive ions and negative electrons, although negative ions are also present in the D-region of the terrestrial ionosphere. Fully ionized plasmas contain only charged particles, whereas partially ionized plasmas also contain neutral gas. The solar wind plasma – that is, the interplanetary medium – is a fully ionized plasma; the ionosphere is a partially ionized plasma. A variety of methods have been developed to describe plasmas. Kinetic theory uses particle distribution functions to describe plasmas, whereas fluid theory (which includes magnetohydrodynamics or MHD) only uses a few macroscopic quantities derived from the full particle distribution functions. Because the subject of kinetic theory is largely outside the scope of an introductory book on space physics, this book will primarily use fluid theory to explain plasma phenomena in the solar system. However, a short introduction to kinetic theory and the derivation from kinetic theory of the fluid equations is provided in this chapter. More detailed treatments of kinetic theory can be found in the references listed at the end of the chapter.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1997

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×