The isentropic exponent in plasmas

K.T.A.L. Burm, W.J. Goedheer, D.C. Schram

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The isentropic exponent for gases is a physical quantity that can ease significantly the hydrodynamic modeling effort. In gas dynamics the isentropic exponent depends only on the number of degrees of freedom of the considered gas. The isentropic exponent for a plasma is lower due to an extra degree of freedom caused by ionization. In this paper it will be shown that, like for gases, the isentropic exponent for atomic plasmas is also constant, as long as the ionization degree is between 5%–80%. Only a very weak dependence on the electron temperature and the two nonequilibrium parameters remain. An argon plasma is used to demonstrate the behavior of the isentropic exponent on the plasma conditions, and to make an estimation of the value of the isentropic exponent of a customary plasma. For atmospheric plasmas, which usually have an electron temperature of about 1 eV, a sufficiently accurate estimate for the isentropic exponent of plasmas is 1.16.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2622-2627
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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