This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy under DOE Field Office. Idaho, Contract No. DE-AC07-76ID01570. supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Research, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Division of Engineering and Geosciences.
Physics of Plasmas
Argon plasmas, Plasma (Ionized gases) -- Mathematical models, Thermodynamics
Departures from thermal (translational), ionization, and excitation equilibrium in an axisymmetric argon plasma jet have been studied by two?dimensional numerical simulations. Electrons, ions, and excited and ground states of neutral atoms are represented as separate chemical species in the mixture. Transitions between excited states, as well as ionization/recombination reactions due to both collisional and radiative processes, are treated as separate chemical reactions. Resonance radiation transport is represented using Holstein escape factors to simulate both the optically thin and optically thick limits. The optically thin calculation showed significant underpopulation of excited species in the upstream part of the jet core, whereas in the optically thick calculation this region remains close to local thermodynamic equilibrium, consistent with previous experimental observations. Resonance radiation absorption is therefore an important effect. The optically thick calculation results also show overpopulations (relative to equilibrium) of excited species and electron densities in the fringes and downstream part of the jet core. In these regions, however, the electrons and ions are essentially in partial local thermodynamic equilibrium with the excited state at the electron temperature, even though the ionized and excited states are no longer in equilibrium with the ground state. Departures from partial local thermodynamic equilibrium are observed in the outer fringes and far downstream part of the jet. These results are interpreted in terms of the local relative time scales for the various physical and chemical processes occurring in the plasma.
C.H. Change and J.D. Ramshaw, "Numerical simulation of nonequilibrium effects in an argon plasma jet," Phys. Plasmas 1, 3698 (1994)