The cascaded arc hydrogen plasma of Pilot-PSI is studied in a non-LTE model. We demonstrate that the effect of vibrationally excited molecules on the heavy-particle-assisted dissociation is crucial for obtaining thermal constriction. To the best of our knowledge, thermal constriction has not been obtained before in a non-LTE simulation. Probably, realistic numerical studies of this type of plasma were hindered by numerical problems, preventing the non-LTE simulations to show characteristic physical mechanisms such as thermal constriction. In this paper we show that with the help of appropriate numerical strategies thermal constriction can be obtained in a non-LTE simulation. To this end, a new source term linearization technique is developed, which ensures physical solutions even near chemical equilibrium where the composition is dominated by chemical source terms. Results of the model are compared with experiments on Pilot-PSI and show good agreement with pressure and voltage measurements in the source.
Peerenboom, K. S. C., Dijk, van, J., Goedheer, W. J., & Kroesen, G. M. W. (2014). A non-equilibrium simulation of thermal constriction in a cascaded arc hydrogen plasma. Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 23(2), 025003-1/12. https://doi.org/10.1088/0963-0252/23/2/025003