Accession Number : ADA139233

Title :   Neutral Gas Plasma Interactions and Critical Ionization Velocity Phenomena.

Descriptive Note : Interim rept.,

Corporate Author : MARYLAND UNIV COLLEGE PARK DEPT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY

Personal Author(s) : Papadopoulos,K

PDF Url : ADA139233

Report Date : 11 Nov 1983

Pagination or Media Count : 41

Abstract : The interplay of collisional and collisionless phenomena in the interaction of a magnetoplasma streaming through neutral gas produces some of the most fascinating plasma physics phenomena. A key notion controlling such interactions is the existence of a critical velocity (U sub c) effect postulated in an ad hoc fashion by Alfven, in his model of the formation of the solar system. According to Alfven's postulate, whenever the relative velocity between a neutral gas and a streaming magnetoplasma exceeds a value U sub c identical with Square root of (2Esub i/M), where E sub i is the ionization energy and M the mass of the neutral atoms, rapid ionization and anomalous momentum coupling occurs. Guided by recent laboratory and space experiments and plasma physics theory we present the basic plasma physics underlying the interaction. This is followed by a discussion of its relevance to the formation of the solar system and cometary tails, its controlling effect on plasma centrifuges and homopolar generators, and the fascinating possibility that critical velocity phenomena are controlling the space shuttle environment, transforming it into an artificial comet. (Author)

Descriptors :   *Gas surface interactions, *Plasmas(Physics), *Ionization, *Solar system, neutral, Gases, Criticality(General), Velocity, Centrifuges, Electric generators, Comets, Collisions, Coupling(Interaction), Space environments, Space shuttles

Subject Categories : Astronomy
      Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE